Game 39: Kings Lose 4-3(SO), fall to 22-13-4
ANAHEIM – I think it’s safe to say that the Los Angeles Kings are very thankful that the NHL eliminates the shootout competition in the playoffs. After a very hard-fought effort in regulation tonight that helped them earn a well-deserved point, said effort went off the tracks so to speak as the Anaheim Ducks scored all three goals in the shootout to win 4-3 and extend their lead in the Pacificto seven points.
In an effort to avenge themselves from their disastrous appearance at the Honda Center back on February 2, the Kings were looking for a much better effort and they got it. The Ducks took three leads in tonight’s game and the Kings answered every time.
Kyle Palmeiri scored for the Ducks just under three minutes into the game to give the home team the early lead and while Anaheim took the lead into the first intermission, the couldn’t hold on to it for much longer than that as early in the second, with the Kings on the power play, Drew Doughty blasted a point shot that found its way past netminder Viktor Fasth to knot things up. The goal was Doughty’s third of the year and second in as many days.
With momentum on their side, Los Angeles began to take over by firing everything they could at Fasth but the Ducks held on and with just under two minutes to go in the second, a cherry-picking Corey Perry was just barely onside to go in on a breakaway and beat Jonathan Bernier to regain the Anaheim lead. It appeared as if the Ducks were to enter the third with the lead but Jeff Carter had other ideas as just 1:18 later, he tipped in his team-leading 23rd goal to tie the game again. Just like that, both teams were deadlocked.
Early in the third, Carter was called for a slash in the offensive zone and the Ducks made him pay as Matt Beleskey scored to give the Ducks yet another lead. But the Ducks were simply trying to hold on as the Kings dominated the third and their efforts finally paid off as with just under four minutes to go in regulation, Dustin Brown crashed the net and potted his 15th past Fasth to once again tie the game.
After nothing was settled in overtime, the Ducks took over in the shootout spoiling Jonathan Bernier’s first appearance in the extra session this season by converting on all three shots, scored by Bobby Ryan, Saku Koivu and the winner by Corey Perry. Jeff Carter scored for the Kings but it wasn’t nearly enough as these two teams tune up for their final meeting of the season which will be next Saturday in Los Angeles.
Despite the shootout, I was very happy with the Kings’ effort on this night. Their 16 shots in the third period alone proved how hungry they were for that extra point. I’m sure they would have rathered two but at this point in the season, every point is as crucial as the next.
Not a pleasant loss and while their two-game winning streak comes to a close, Los Angeles’ point-streak is now at three games. With that said, the Kings do hope to get back on the winning track on Tuesday night when they visit the Dallas Stars in what will be the final ever meeting between the two clubs as divisional rivals.