It was a spectacular run but it had to end sometime. If anyone could knock the Kings off their high horse it was a motivated Anaheim team. Anxious to avenge their loss from last week, the Ducks beat the Kings with a score of 4-2.
The Kings started the game just like always; slow. The Ducks dominated the play for the first half of the opening period before the Kings managed to calm the game down and settle it to their pace. Everything went according to plan as Oscar Moller scored first for the Kings on a wild, backhand golf-shot, whirling a pass from Alexander Frolov into the net.
However, Los Angeles put itself behind the 8-ball after Matt Greene sent the puck over the glass for a delay of game, immediately followed by the bane of an NHL coach's existence, too many men on the ice. With a 5 on 3 powerplay the Ducks made no mistake. Teemu Selanne knocked home a rebound after Jonathan Quick made a spectacular first save. The goal was Selanne's 597th of his career. Selanne is on pace for 30 goals this season despite missing 25 games.
The game plan for the Ducks was to send pucks into the crease and hack away at them. The plan worked as the Ducks pulled out to a 3-1 lead in the second. Kopitar repsonded on the powerplay for the Kings on a beautiful give and go play with Ryan Smyth. Yet, the dagger came just 24 second later when Corey Perry tallied for the Ducks to take away all momentum.
The Kings fought hard in the third, tossing 18 shots on net, but Jonas Hiller managed to stop all of them. Quick turned aside 29 of 33 shots in another feisty performance. Rebound control was a killer tonight though, as the Ducks plan to send pucks down low worked in their favor.
The game took its toll on both clubs, Ryan Getzlaf sustaining what appears to be an ankle sprain and Rob Scuderi leaving the game early with flulike symptoms. In Scuderi's absence, Drew Doughty logged nearly 29 minutes of ice-time. Davis Drewiske returned to the ice after a 16 game absence logging nearly 13 minutes of ice-time.
Special teams played a big role in the game. The Kings failed to convert on all 4 powerplay tries, yet the Ducks scored on their 5 on 3 chance. Kopitar's goal came just 1 second after a Duck penalty expired, in essence making it a man advantage goal.
The loss drops the Kings back down to 5th place in the West, Phoenix retaking 4th after defeating the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night. The Kings still own a game-at-hand on Phoenix. The Kings are 3 points ahead of 6th place Colorado and 9 ahead of 8th place Nashville. The loss was the Kings 20th in regulation this season. Only 6 teams out of 30 have less than 20 regulation losses this season.
The Kings return to action after a two day break on Thursday against the Edmonton Oilers. Is it possible we could see Erik Ersberg in net for a tilt against the leagues worst team? Or will Murray continue to ride the Quick-boat?
Additional Note: This was the first loss by the Kings since I started blogging here. You're welcome, Kings!
About the Author
Written by Eric Cooney
Eric Cooney was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. He shares his thoughts on the NHL as one man who is a northerner, southerner, east coaster, and west coaster. Follow him on Twitter @EricCooney