Anaheim Ducks Fall 3-2 in Overtime to Los Angeles Kings

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November 15, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) defends the goal against Anaheim Ducks left wing Patrick Maroon (19) during the first period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks, coming off a tremendous 6-5 comeback win in the shootout over the Los Angeles Kings, looked to prove that their victory over the defending Stanley Cup champions was for real. The two Southern California teams met for the first time this season on Wednesday, and they provided a terrific regular season contest that had a playoff feel. On Saturday, these two teams would meet again, this time in Staples Center.

In another physical bout, it was the Ducks that held the leads in regulation. Unfortunately, the Kings won the game 3-2 in overtime. On Wednesday, the Ducks never held the lead at any point in regulation, yet found a way to win. This time, Los Angeles did the same.

The Ducks opened the scoring at 8:38 in the second period. Ryan Getzlaf won a faceoff against Mike Richards in the offensive zone and sent the puck down to Patrick Maroon. Maroon threw a centering pass in front of the Kings’ net, and Emerson Etem batted in his rebound out of mid-air past Jonathan Quick, despite both Richards and Matt Greene converging on him in front of the net. The goal was Etem’s second of the year, and it came with his second consecutive game on the top line with Getzlaf. After seven shots on goal on Wednesday against Los Angeles, Etem finally got on the scoresheet himself. Getzlaf extended his team lead in points, nabbing his 17th with his 12th assist of the season.

However, the Kings would tie the game about eight minutes later at 16:37. Greene was sent off for intentionally knocking the net off after both Hampus Lindholm and Matt Beleskey were stopped by Quick. Getzlaf tried to keep the puck in against Tyler Toffoli, but he passed to Jarret Stoll to start a breakout. Toffoli got the puck back and snapped a shot past Frederik Andersen to tie the game at one. That was Toffoli’s league-leading fourth shorthanded goal, and he extended his team lead in goals (eight) and points (18).

The Ducks would come back to seize the lead just before the end of the period, with 1:16 left in the 2nd. Sami Vatanen entered the offensive zone and circled behind the net before passing to Bryan Allen at an open point. Allen, however, opted to pass the puck to a vacated Ryan Kesler down low, instead of firing a shot on net. Kesler got the puck, turned around, and fired a shot past Quick to make the score 2-1 in favor of the Ducks.

In the third, the Kings would again tie it up. Getzlaf was sent off 7:39 into the third period for goalie interference. The Ducks struggled to clear the puck on the Kings’ ensuing power-play, and the Kings just kept moving the puck while tiring out the Anaheim penalty killers. Eventually, Jake Muzzin gave the pass down to Drew Doughty, who immediately fired cross ice to Anze Kopitar. The Slovenian hammered a shot past Andersen to tie the game at two 9:25 in. It was Kopitar’s fifth goal of the season, and it snapped an 0/18 drought for Los Angeles on the power-play. Kopitar has goals in three of his past four games.

In overtime, Lindholm took a hooking penalty 23 seconds in. The Ducks made some valiant efforts to clear, but at the last second, Justin Williams breezed past Vatanen and threw a puck in the crease. Stoll got the toe of his stick on the puck and squeaked it past Andersen five-hole 2:19 into overtime. It was Stoll’s first goal of the year, coming a game after Kari Lehtonen made a terrific save to deny Stoll. Muzzin recorded two more assists against the Ducks, giving him four against Anaheim this season, and he has three multi-point outings in his previous four (one goal, five assists).

In a game not decided by much, Los Angeles won the special teams battle. The Kings were 2/3 on the power-play and 3/3 on the penalty kill with a shorthanded goal, accounting for all of the Kings’ scoring. Outside of that, it was a great goaltending duel between Quick and Andersen. After making 44 saves on Wednesday, Quick stopped 27 of 29 shots in a spectacular effort. He made great saves on Etem, Beleskey, and Maroon and was extremely sharp. The Kings cleaned up their defensive effort in front of Quick, who faced 20 fewer shots than he did on Wednesday.

Andersen was also razor sharp. After allowing three goals on ten shots Wednesday, the Danish goalie came back and made 34 saves on 37 shots in a tremendous bounce-back effort. He made great saves through traffic in the crease throughout the game and kept the Ducks in the game.

It was another physical effort. The Ducks laid 32 hits on Los Angeles, but the Kings fired off 50 hits of their own, led by a whopping 11 from their captain, Dustin Brown. Clayton Stoner led the Ducks with seven hits of his own. Faceoffs were also pretty even: after winning 35 of 65 draws on Wednesday, the Ducks won 33 of 68 (48.5%).

Despite the loss, the Ducks played a really sound game. The Kings are the defending Stanley Cup champions for a reason, and they raised their level of play after an okay outing on Wednesday. The Ducks showed that they could sustain their level of play from Saturday and hang with the champions. The Ducks have earned points in seven straight games (3-0-4), playing well in most instances. This game had a playoff atmosphere to it as well, and the Ducks should take confidence in being able to compete with the Kings’ best.

As always, here are my three stars of the game.