The Los Angeles Kings beat the Anaheim Ducks in every way on Saturday night. Except the one way that matters. On the scoreboard.
The Kings lost their second straight home game 2-1 despite out-shooting, out-hitting, out face-offing their rivals at the Staples Center in a playoff-type atmosphere where tempers flared and post-whistle scrums were plentiful. LA fired 38 shots at Ducks’ rookie goalie Frederik Andersen, with fellow freshman Tyler Toffoli the only one able to put one past him.
Martin Jones took the loss, allowing 2 goals on just 20 shots.
The Ducks opened the scoring with their fourth line on the ice against the Kings’ top trio. The Ducks created a forecheck and cycle that ended up on the stick of Mathieu Perreault in the slot. He found Tim Jackman driving to the net and fed a nice pass at the edge of the crease that Jackman redirected past Jones, 13 minutes into the first period.
Toffoli tied it up on a Kings’ power play, picking up a rebound off a shot from Jarret Stoll that Anderson kicked into the slot and sliding it into the yawning cage. That tie didn’t last long, as less than a minute later, Patrick Maroon carried the puck out of the Kings’ corner and caught Jones cheating towards the pass to the slot, leaving the post early and Maroon banked it on off a sliding Kings’ defenseman Jake Muzzin.
That was all the scoring as the Ducks held on to win. It looked like the Kings had tied the game, but the tying goal was waved off after incidental contact with Anderson by Marian Gaborik. Contact was made but he was directed into the crease by Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
This one came down to an old adage for the Kings this year, not being able to beat other elite teams. This loss dropped them to a .500 record against the top 10 NHL teams.
Scoring is going to be a factor in the coming playoffs, because they have to allow a goal or less in most games in order to win, and that is a tall task. The fact that the Ducks’ 4th line dominated the Kings’ first leading up to the opening goal is cause for concern, but the Kings were without both starting goalie Jonathan Quick and captain Dustin Brown, both missing the game with “illness”. Anaheim rested starting goalie Jonas Hiller as well as ageless wonder Teemu Selanne, who sat out the second half of the back to back.
The Kings are back in action Monday night when they host the Phoenix Coyotes.