The first meeting of the season between the Kings and the Ducks that ended in a 2-1 shootout victory for the Kings was not nearly as even as the final score would make it appear.
Were it not for superb goaltending by Jonas Hiller, the game would have been over in the first period. The Kings outshot the Ducks 17-5, yet it was still 0-0 heading into the second period. Maybe Hiller knew he had to be good, because Dan Ellis was sitting on the bench with a sore groin as the back up.
Seeing as the Ducks were not good at getting shots on goal, they did find something they excelled in, besides goaltending. They were great at taking penalties. No matter how good you are at penalty killing, you are playing with fire when you give the team with the hot power play a 5 on 3 advantage for nearly a full two minutes.
Mike Richards took advantage of a strange bounce off the boards and gave the Kings a 1-0 lead at 7:38 of the second period. Never mind all the good work that LA had been doing. A bounce of the puck off the boards and right onto Richard’s stick was all they needed. Hiller did not have a chance.
When the Ducks finally woke up in the third period and decided that they would finally get some shots on goal, it finally felt like a good game.
Ryan Getzlaf nearly tied up the game early on during a power play, but it was waved off. Getzlaf got his hand on a bouncing puck and it deflected into the net behind Quick. Getzlaf had tried his best to get his stick on the puck but missed, barely. The review clearly showed it was not a good goal.
Finally near the end of the game, the Ducks had another power play opportunity and this time, the goal was legitimate. Teemu Selanne continued to lead his team with the goal at 16:35. Even if the puck did not go into the net, Corey Perry was right there to finish it off.
The game remained tied through the rest of regulation and into the overtime period. The shootout had to go seven rounds before it was decided. Justin Williams got his puck behind Hiller and Kurtis Foster (not coach Randy Carlyle’s usual choice of shooters) could not keep the shootout going.
“We did get the two (points) which is huge, but at the same time, we let them get a point out of it,” Quick said after the game. “A game like that, we outplay them like that, that should be a game where they don’t get any points. I’m sure over there … I’m sure they’re happy with getting that point. Especially a division rival like them, you know they’re going to be right in the hunt with us, and we want to not allow them to get any points.”
I don’t think the Ducks were exceptionally giddy with a point, but it was more than they’ve garnered in a while.
“You’ve got to celebrate the little victories,” Bobby Ryan commented. “I thought we did a good job taking pucks to the net, especially in the third. We turned our game on and got going in the right direction. We were rewarded for it. I don’t know if you want to call it a fluky goal, but a goal that probably is going to be saves most of the time.”
The Ducks get a second opportunity against the Kings tonight, this time at the Honda Center. How about making sure the “on” switch is in the right position from the first period forward? If they can continue playing like they did in the third period, they might have a chance of getting both points from the Kings this time.