The Los Angeles Kings got a wake up call from the Anaheim Ducks as they lost the third game of the Western Conference Semi-Final, 3-2. It was an effort almost worth a win for LA, but that did not translate to goals as the Ducks prevailed to stay in the series and prevent a 3 game to zero deficit. It was not going to be easy for Anaheim, especially since they decided to go with Frederik Andersen instead of Jonas Hiller, who had lost the last two games at the Honda Center.
Or maybe it was. The Ducks got on the board first on a power play resulting from a Drew Doughty hooking penalty. Corey Perry, who was the one Doughty hooked, found the puck in front of LA’s lackadaisical penalty killing unit and put it in the net. The Ducks went up 1-0. The glass behind Jonathan Quick must have said something nasty to Perry, as the Duck’s wingman slammed it after he scored. The glass better watch itself next time.
It was not over for the Kings, though. This game was just starting. 1st Period Stats Hits: Anaheim 13, LA 22 Shots: Anaheim 10, LA 9 The second period had a few penalties that got in the way for both teams. The most costly was from Devante Smith-Pelly, who inadvertently high-sticked an LA player. On that ensuing power play for the Kings, LA got a few great passes around Anaheim, which gave them the space they needed to attack when they saw a clear opening. Anze Kopitar found Marian Gaborik to the left of the net who got it to an open Jeff Carter on some sweet tic-tac-toe passing. Carter was alone in the slot and all he did was wrist the puck past Frederik Andersen. Kings tied the game, 1-1. Sometime later, Los Angeles was caught over-defending in the neutral zone. Two Kings went after the puck that the Ducks lost amongst their skates. Nick Bonino fished it out, took it down the left wing and fed it to Teemu Selanne coming in hard on the right. A perfect pass in front of Quick was tipped in to make it 2-1, Anaheim.
For the record, everyone except the Kings saw this goal coming. 2nd Period Stats Hits: Anaheim 10, LA 20 Shots: Anaheim 6, LA 11 It was a back and forth affair for most of the third. Just before the ten minute mark, the Kings put on a shot barrage that did not see anything get in the net. The unfortunate thing for Anaheim is that Andersen went down with an apparent right leg injury. He was out and Hiller was thrown into the fire. Fortunately for Anaheim, their continued pressure paid off. On a charge into the attacking zone with less than three minutes left, Andrew Cogliano got the puck to Ben Lovejoy when the Kings’ defense was caught sleeping. Lovejoy sent the puck into the top right corner of the net into a space mere millimeters bigger than the puck itself. The Ducks went up 3-1 and Staples Center was as quiet as Honda Center.
Things were tense for the Kings with the empty net wide open. Perry had chance for Anaheim to go up 4-1, but broke his stick on an attempt on goal. A few plays later, the Kings got lucky when a Tanner Pearson shot ricocheted to a well placed Mike Richards. He found the back of the net and the Kings were within striking distance with the score 3-2. Unfortunately, that is where it ended. The Kings were not able to get another shot off in the last half minute, putting Anaheim in a more comfortable position in the series, now only down two games to one. 3rd Period Stats Hits: Anaheim 12, LA 13 Shots: Anaheim 5, LA 12 So far, the road team has been the winner in this series. That is quite interesting for two teams that have been solid at home. This is something the Los Angeles Kings need to fix on Saturday when they play Game 4 at Staples Center.