Santa apparently left some residual coal in the Ducks stockings as Anaheim lost 4-1 to the Kings on the day after Christmas. Ho ho ho, bah humbug!
With four days off after a 5-2 loss in Buffalo, the Ducks looked rusty instead of tired. No practices were held during that time off, and it showed. As well as a six-course dinner that Bobby Ryan confessed to devouring on his Twitter account and must have still been digesting because he was virtually non-existent in the game, garnering only one shot on goal.
Technically still on a seven-game road trip, the Ducks had the Kings and Phoenix on Tuesday before coming back to the Honda Center to play on New Year’s Eve. So much for ending the road trip on a high note.
Usually the Ducks and Kings both play their best against each other. In their first meeting of the year, the Ducks shut out Los Angeles at the Honda Center, but the Kings had the upper hand in their own building, where they have been strong all year, only losing twice in regulation.
Wayne Simmonds got the party started for the Kings scoring just :15 seconds into the second period. Matt Beleskey, who was just recalled from Syracuse, tied things up quickly for the Ducks at :47 seconds, deflecting Toni Lydman’s point shot behind Jonathan Bernier. If you were still waiting in line for a mid-game snack (and with 18,313 people attending the standing room only game, the odds were good that you were), you would have missed the first two goals.
After Anze Kopitar knocked in Marco Sturm’s rebound behind Jonas Hiller at 9:10, the Kings never looked back.
Jason Williams stole a puck from Joffrey Lupul and extended the Kings lead at 12:55. Then the final nail in the coffin came when Beleskey was sent to the box for sending the puck over the glass and Dustin Brown put in a power play goal at 17:57 to make it 4-1.
Goodbye Hiller. Hello Curtis McElhinney. At least McElhinney stopped all the rest of the shots, but so did Bernier.
Then again, Bernier only had to deal with three shots on goal in the final twenty minutes, so it wasn’t as if the Ducks went out with a bang, like they did in the Buffalo game. This one was more like a feisty whimper.
And so the Ducks continue limp in the standings, dropping down to 10th place in the Western Conference. However, having played more games than everyone else, the Ducks are in actuality much lower than that. They need to get their act together by the time Tuesday evening rolls around and they find themselves in Arizona. The Coyotes are just one point behind the Ducks and would be more than happy to pass them up again in a conference that keeps ping ponging over one another.