Preseason Game 2: Kings Defeat Ducks 4-3


In their second preseason game the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-3.  The game was decided in a shootout.

Emerson Etem put the Ducks on the board early in the first.  The Ducks worked a good cycle down low, behind the net, to the sideboards.  Andrew Cogliano made a drop pass to Hampus Lindholm who drove behind the net.  Lindholm made a wrap-around attempt that failed, but the puck passed through the crease right onto the stick of Etem, who was driving to the net.  1-0 Ducks.

Almost halfway through the second period the Ducks were able to keep the puck in the Kings zone on a turnover by David Van der Gulik.  William Karlsson attempted a shot that was blocked, and the puck landed on Dany Heatley’s stick.  Heatley fired a quick wrist shot on net, through a partial screen, and beat Kings goaltender Martin Jones.  2-0.

Almost four minutes to the second a wrap-around attempt by Van der Gulik kicked out to the point to Alec Martinez.  Martinez fired a slapshot, and the rebound came right to Jordan Nolan, who fired it top shelf.  2-1.

2:48 later, a quick two pass breakout – exemplary of the Kings system – created a two-on-one odd-man rush for Tyler Toffoli and Dwight King.  Entering the zone with the puck Toffoli made an incredible saucer-pass over the leg of Ducks defensemen Sami Vatanen right on to King’s stick.  King snapped a one-timer snap-shot past John Gibson.  Tie game, 2-2.

Sep 25, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Tyler Toffoli (73) scores past Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) in the shootout at Staples Center. Kings won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 25, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings defenseman Kevin Raine (63) takes the puck from Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler (17) in the third period of the game at Staples Center. Kings won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Just past the nine-minute mark, the Ducks turned the puck over in the Kings high slot.  Toffoli picked up the puck and took off on a breakaway.  Walking in, with back-checkers on his back, Toffoli ripped a shot top-shelf past Gibson.  3-2 Kings!

Not a minute later the Ducks were deep in the Kings zone.  Patrick Maroon broke free of Martinez behind the net and attempted a wrap-around.  Jones stopped Maroon, but the puck bounced off his pad right onto the stick of Ryan Kesler, who snapped the puck between a cluster of legs and past the downed Jones.  Tie game, 3-3.

Play in the third period didn’t slow down, but no more goals were scored and overtime was required.  During the overtime period Kyle Clifford had a great chance, breaking in from the left wing and firing a shot high on goal, but Gibson made the save.  In the dying seconds of the overtime period the Ducks scrambled a shot on goal, and fired another desperate chance wide.  Time for the shootout.

Shootout, Round 1:  Tanner Pearson shot for the Kings; Gibson made the save.  Jacob Silverburg shot for the Ducks and with a deke beat Jones.  1-0 Ducks.

Round 2:  Toffoli skates in for Kings and snipes another shot, similar to his breakaway goal, past Gibson.  Maroon attempts to fake a deke but is stopped by Jones.  1-1, tie.

Round 3:  King puts the pressure on by scoring on Gibson.  Ryan Kesler, the big off-season acquisition for the Ducks, shoots the puck wide of the net after skating in too close to Jones.  2-1 Kings.  Kings win.

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  • The Kings second preseason game was much closer to resembling a regular season game, as opposed to the first game against the Coyotes.  The presence of the young-regulars – Nolan, Toffoli, Martinez, Pearson, King – from the Kings full-time roster in the lineup made a difference.  Preparation and practice are showing signs of promise as the team continues to build toward the regular season.  Play was much more orgainzed.  Apparent improvements were seen in structured positioning and player familiarity.

    Even for a preseason game, it was easy to tell these opponents are rivals.  The tempo and flow of play was at a fierce pace; every player had an extra jump in their step.

    Martin Jones played the entire game.  It was the first game that the Kings had a goaltender play without splitting time with a backup.

    Toffoli showed why we should all forget the hype.  He’s for real.  Toffoli was interviewed during the second intermission and was asked about living up to everyone’s expectations for his upcoming season after last year’s impressive performance.  His response was vague, “I feel more and more comfortable out there.”  His play was not; his play made a statement.  Toffoli is going to be a regular on the Kings roster this year, and he is a stellar player.  Suiting up for a full regular season Toffoli has the potential to be a 20-goal-scorer.

    Tryout prospect Kevin Raine also had a good game.  Solid defensive play stood out; standing up opponents and breaking up onrushing plays before they had a chance to fully develop.  Raine’s ability to move the puck was consistent.  It’s a good way for the 21-year-old to get noticed and get a professional contract.