Ducks hold off Kings in shootout, reclaim NHL points lead
The Freeway Faceoff rivalry has a particular spark this season after the Los Angeles Kings’ first playoff meeting with the Anaheim Ducks last summer, and the rivals traded hard hits and big goals in another remarkably even game Saturday night.
In extra time, the Ducks had all the poise that the Kings have lacked all season long.
Jakob Silfverberg scored in the second round of the shootout, and Frederik Andersen stopped all three Los Angeles attempts in the Ducks’ 3-2 victory over the Kings on Saturday night.
”This is a tough building to play in, and it’s a tough team to play,” said Silfverberg, who banked his goal off Jonathan Quick’s post in the second round. ”They play hard, so coming out of here with a win is huge for the team, and it brings a lot of confidence.”
The Kings retired defenseman Rob Blake’s number in a pregame ceremony, but the Ducks came up bigger down the stretch in a late-starting game.
Sami Vatanen tied it for Anaheim with 7:08 to play in the third Southern California rivalry meeting of the season. All three have gone to overtime, and two went to shootouts.
”They’re scoring the big goal, for sure,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said.
Ryan Getzlaf scored his 14th goal for the Ducks, who reclaimed sole possession of the overall NHL lead after Nashville lost. Anaheim has won six of its last seven games.
Anaheim also has won six of its last seven regular-season meetings with Los Angeles, but the Kings eliminated the Ducks from the postseason last spring in seven thrilling games.
”This was as heated a game against these guys as we’ve had in a while,” Getzlaf said. ”It was great. I thought both teams responded well coming out. There were good hard, clean body checks.”
The rivalry had another well-played chapter in front of a standing-room-only crowd celebrating a piece of the Kings’ history.
About 40 former players gathered before the game as the Kings retired the No. 4 jersey worn by Blake. The Hall of Famer spent parts of 14 seasons on Los Angeles’ blue line and served as captain for six, leading the franchise in goals and assists by a defenseman.
The Ducks waited out a similar ceremony for Teemu Selanne last weekend, and they felt they adjusted well to the extra-late start.
”Both teams had the same kind of situation, so we were both battling the same thing,” Silfverberg said. ”It’s tough, but we just did it.”
Alec Martinez and Anze Kopitar scored for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who were outshot by an opponent for the first time since Nov. 29. Quick made 29 saves in the fifth loss in six games for Los Angeles, which has lost 11 of its 13 extra-time games this season.
”We’ve got to do something to win these shootout games,” Marian Gaborik said. ”We have enough talent here. We just have to find a way to bear down and get some goals. It’s not early in the season. We’re past half, so we just have to find a way.”
After a scoreless first period, Martinez scored his second goal in 19 games when Anaheim’s Kyle Palmieri attempted to catch his shot. Palmieri only deflected the puck past Andersen, and Kings defenseman Jeff Schultz got an assist for his first point with the club.
Getzlaf tied it off a faceoff late in the period, following Corey Perry’s shot to the net for the All-Star center’s 14th goal of the season.
The Kings got a four-minute power play late in the period, but didn’t manage a shot in the first 3 1/2 minutes. Kopitar finally got his 11th goal off Gaborik’s beautiful pass through the crease.
But Vatanen tied it when his long shot deflected off Matt Greene’s stick and pinballed past Quick, ending the Finnish defenseman’s 12-game goal drought. Anaheim’s power play has scored in five straight games for the first time since late 2011.
NOTES: Forward Nick Shore made his NHL debut for the Kings. … G Martin Jones was out with back spasms, forcing Los Angeles to recall Jean-Francois Berube to back up Quick. … Kings F Tyler Toffoli missed his fourth straight game with mononucleosis, and D Robyn Regehr missed his 12th straight game with an upper-body injury. … Anaheim D Cam Fowler committed his first penalty of the season in the first period, getting whistled for hooking. The U.S. Olympian had played 44 games without any penalty minutes.