Feb 19, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson (42) attempts a shot for a goal on Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj (31) during the second period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Even though it’s only February, the Anaheim Ducks are already trying to harness the attitude and style of play they’ll need to make a deep run in the playoffs.
There was no better way to test those attributes than against the Los Angeles Kings in the Freeway Faceoff, and the Ducks delivered on both accounts.
Josh Manson scored his second goal of the season, John Gibson stopped 24 shots for his 10th career shutout and the Ducks defeated the Kings 1-0 on Sunday night.
“We just showed how we can play,” Gibson said. “This time of the season, that’s the way it is going to be. Going into the playoffs, towards the end of the year, every game is going to be tight. There’s not much room for error, so (you’ve) got to be pretty good.”
The Ducks have won two of three games against the Kings this season, with Gibson recording shutouts in both victories. He has five shutouts in all this season.
While the Kings were able to bring their heavy game in the first period despite playing the second game of a back-to-back, it was the Ducks’ forecheck that set up the only goal of an intense and physical game.
Ryan Getzlaf managed to pull the puck out of the corner after defenseman Brayden McNabb could not control it, and Getzlaf found a streaking Manson alone along the far circle. Kings goalie Peter Budaj never saw Manson and he buried his shot 1:19 into the second period.
“We get in, put some pressure on them and we got a bounce,” Getzlaf said. “It wasn’t that I went in and picked his pocket. It kind of bounced over his stick and I was able to grab it. Our D did a good job recognizing it, getting on that backdoor, and obviously Manson produced.”
Manson hadn’t scored since Dec. 15 against Boston, going 28 games between goals. It was his first career goal against the Kings and third point in 11 rivalry games.
Nick Ritchie added an assist, ending a streak of seven games without a point.
From that point on Anaheim was able to rely on its sound defense, with Ryan Kesler helping to limit Hart Trophy contender Jeff Carter to just three shots, none memorable or dangerous.
“I think that’s the way we have to play,” Kesler said. “We’ve got to get back to defense first and I think the last little bit we kind of went sideways and it’s good to see we’re back on track now.”
While the Ducks were able to relish their defensive effort, the struggling Kings could only bemoan their lack of offensive firepower and inability to finish off the few chances they did have.
Trevor Lewis should have tied the game for Los Angeles in the final 30 seconds of the second period. The puck careened off the boards and behind Gibson, who was out at the top of his crease, but Lewis somehow put it wide of the open net.
Kings rookie Adrian Kempe then hit the outside of the post off a rebound late in the third period, and Los Angeles got nothing from a subsequent power play for too many men on the ice.
Budaj made 28 saves for the Kings, who have lost all three games since their bye week and five of six overall.
Los Angeles trails Calgary by two points for the second wild card in the Western Conference.
“We’re still fully confident we can turn it on now and get back into that playoff spot we want to be in,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. “The longer we wait, the harder it’s going to be.”
NOTES: Getzlaf has 51 points in 62 career games against the Kings. … Anaheim improved to 21-1-1 when leading after two periods. … Tanner Pearson was held scoreless after totaling four goals in his previous three games. … The Kings have not scored in eight of nine periods against the Ducks this season.