The Los Angeles Kings (46-28-8, 100 pts) lost the final game of the season to rival Anaheim Ducks (53-20-8, 114 pts) in a shoot out, 4-3. In a game that meant very little, but meant so much, LA managed to fight back against what became evident as the best team in the conference. They might have lost this one, but the part of the season that matters most, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, is just about to begin.
The game started with some classiness from the Kings as they honored the career of Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne. Selanne had said this will be his last season, and in appreciation for his career, Los Angeles played a video of his career highlights. Congratulations.
Although once the puck dropped, it was all business.
The Kings and Ducks started strong as both went at each other with some aggressive offensive attacks. LA was able to get a goal first as Kings’ Captain Dustin Brown took a puck, which was played off the board, and went in uncontested for a breakaway goal. The shot not only surprised Kings fans, but Duck goalie Frederik Andersen.
A few minutes later, the Ducks evened it up as Nick Bonino dove for a bouncing puck, shot the it in back of him to an open Kings’ net from the tight angle. The game was tied 1-1. Anaheim and LA went back and forth from there, but a few Kings penalties gave the Ducks momentum. It did not lead to goals for Anaheim, but lead to an advantage in shots, 8-5.
The Ducks got the second period going off of a questionable goal from Devonte Smith-Pelly when a shot from Hampus Lindholm deflected off his skate and into the net. A possible kicking motion was not inspected and the goal stood.
This seemed create a sense of urgency for the Kings as they kicked it into high gear the rest of the period. It did not result in goals, but it did give the Kings the edge in shots (12-5) and hits (11-3).
LA was able to pressure Anaheim, but once again, dumb LA penalties hampered their effort. Three Kings went to the box for an infraction the remainder of the period. Brown got a ticky-tack call for hooking with less than two minutes to play in the second. Anaheim was unable to capitalize and took the power play in the third period for an eight second advantage.
LA continued with the pressure on Anaheim in the third. The Kings tied the game on a Kopitar wrap-around that was forcefully wedged into the bottom corner of the net. The Media and team-voted MVP of the Kings continues to be force, along with his linemates, Justin Williams and Marion Gaborik, as they continue to produce offense. Watch this line in the playoffs, folks!
What was on Kopitar’s mind during second intermission? pic.twitter.com/I5j2PI301F
— LA Kings (@LAKings) April 13, 2014
The Ducks were not done in this game either. Matt Belesky played a puck off the board and faked a pass to fire one behind Quick. A heartbreaker put the Ducks up, 3-2. With the momentum in the Duck’s favor, it looked bleak for LA… until 1 minute and 35 seconds later when Kopitar pulled another magic trick out of his hat and wristed one past Andersen. Selke, maybe?
The game was tied, 3-3. The game went into overtime, but not before the Ducks gained a point to win the Western conference out right. Anaheim dominated in overtime, but could not score and the game was sent to a shoot out.
Both goalies were in top form, stopping the first three shots. LA missed their fourth shot, which left it open for Anaheim to pull out the win. Anaheim sent in game goal scorer, Smith-Pelly, for his first shoot out attempt of the year. Wouldn’t you know it? He nailed it. He sent a laser past a dumbfounded Quick to give the Ducks the 3-2 win.
Well, the good news is, it did not affect the Kings for the playoffs. In addition, the Kings got to 100 points, something that does not happen every year for them.
Kings will have at least 100 points for the fourth time in history. Ducks have clinched first place in Western Conference.
— Rich Hammond (@Rich_Hammond) April 13, 2014
They also potentially tie the Boston Bruins for the Jennings Award, the award that goes to the goalie(s) from the team that has the lowest goals against average. If Boston gives up a goal in their last game tomorrow, the Kings’ Jonathan Quick would be the lone recipient.
It was a good season, but now it is the time of the year that General manager Dean Lombardi has built the Kings for. The Playoffs.
LA takes on the San Jose Sharks in the first round next week,
Tags: Los Angeles Kings