Corey Perry scored the tiebreaking goal with 8:39 to play, and the Anaheim Ducks furiously rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period for a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in the Freeway Faceoff on Friday night.
Ryan Kesler and Emerson Etem scored 90 seconds apart early in the third period for the Ducks, who beat the defending Stanley Cup champions for the third time in four lively meetings this season.
Perry secured the seventh 25-goal season of his NHL career when he slipped past two Kings to put home a bouncing puck in the slot. He then added an empty-net goal with 23.6 seconds left on a high-arcing shot.
Trevor Lewis and Brayden McNabb scored for the Kings, who have lost two straight after an eight-game surge.
This rivalry series concludes March 18, but the title-contending rivals easily could meet again in the postseason. Anaheim has won seven of the last eight regular-season meetings overall, but Los Angeles claimed a bruising seven-game series in the second round last spring.
John Gibson made 20 saves while appearing in his ninth straight game for the Ducks, who have won four of five to boost their Pacific Division lead to 12 points.
Martin Jones stopped 28 shots in his first start since Jan. 14 in place of Jonathan Quick, who had started 16 straight games.
Defenseman Andrej Sekera made his debut for the Kings two days after they acquired the puck-moving veteran from Carolina. He teamed with former Buffalo teammate Robyn Regehr, who left in the third period after a shot hit his left hand.
Ducks’ forecheck spurs comeback win over rival Kings
While Anaheim dominated long stretches of early play, Lewis put Los Angeles ahead late in the first period, ending a 132-minute stretch of scoreless hockey for the champs.
The Kings didn’t even manage a shot in the first ten minutes of a back-and-forth second period until McNabb’s long fling through traffic deflected off Hampus Lindholm. The goal was McNabb’s first since Dec. 26, 2011, when he played for Buffalo, ending a 79-game drought.
Kesler finally ended the Ducks’ three-game scoreless skid at 116 minutes, 40 seconds when he jumped on a puck in the slot and beat Jones for his first point in 10 games since Feb. 6.
The crowd hadn’t quieted when Etem cashed in on a strong forecheck by Jiri Sekac, who earned his first point with his new team.
NOTES: The Kings didn’t commit a penalty until 3:55 remained. … Chris Wagner appeared in his third NHL game and his first since Nov. 15, centering Anaheim’s fourth line in the absence of Nate Thompson, who missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. … Jamie McBain was a healthy scratch to make room for Sekera on Los Angeles’ blue line. Alec Martinez also has missed nine straight games with an apparent concussion. … Frederik Andersen returned to uniform, backing up Gibson after missing eight games with an upper-body injury. The Danish goalie still ranks fifth in the NHL with 29 victories.