Ryan Kesler netted two third-period goals and scored again in the shootout, leading the Anaheim Ducks past the Los Angeles Kings 6-5 on Wednesday night in the first Freeway Faceoff of the season.
Ryan Getzlaf scored the tying goal with 1:39 left in regulation as Anaheim survived a dramatic finish to the Southern California rivals’ first meeting since the Kings beat the Ducks in seven grueling second-round playoff games last spring.
Marian Gaborik and Justin Williams scored third-period goals for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who blew a two-goal lead in the final six minutes of regulation.
Jakob Silfverberg scored his first goal of the season before putting a shootout goal past Jonathan Quick, who stopped 44 shots for Los Angeles.
Anze Kopitar scored his first penalty-shot goal and matched Drew Doughty with a goal and an assist apiece for the Kings. Jason LaBarbera made 14 saves for Anaheim after relieving Frederik Andersen, stopping Jeff Carter and Kopitar in the shootout.
The playoff series added real spark to what had been a purely geographical rivalry, and the regular-season series continues Saturday at Staples Center after this thrilling opener.
The third period got crazy after Kesler tied it with an early goal in the slot. Gaborik then put a wicked wrist shot past LaBarbera before Williams put the Kings up 5-3.
Kesler scored again with 5:40 left before Getzlaf redirected a puck from Devante Smith-Pelly in front for the tying goal.
Anaheim won four straight in the regular-season rivalry last season, including the clubs’ first outdoor game at Dodger Stadium. The Ducks then took a 3-2 series lead in their playoff meeting, but Los Angeles won the series with a blowout victory in Game 7 at Honda Center.
In their first meeting since the Kings ended Teemu Selanne’s career, Kopitar opened the scoring with the penalty shot. Doughty got his first goal of the season before Trevor Lewis chased Andersen, who whiffed on an innocent wrist shot by the Kings grinder.
Anaheim stayed close with goals from Cam Fowler and Silfverberg. The Ducks outshot the Kings 31-12 in the first two periods.
Corey Perry missed his fourth straight game, and defenseman Francois Beauchemin sat out his second straight for the Ducks. Both veterans were diagnosed with the mumps earlier Wednesday. Beauchemin was hospitalized to receive IV fluids.
NOTES: Kopitar had missed on his two previous penalty shots in nine NHL seasons. … Los Angeles hadn’t scored on a penalty shot since Jan. 23, 2012, when Lewis did it against Ottawa. … Defenseman Jamie McBain played 11:47 one day after signing with the Kings, who don’t have the salary cap room to recall a defenseman from the minors.