In the final meeting between the Ducks and the Kings, you would have expected a lively game between the two teams. It certainly was lively in the stands of the sellout plus crowd, who seemed evenly split between the opponents.
It wasn’t that the Ducks were lackluster, but rather that the Kings were determined to earn two points in the standings and were not going to allow anything to get in their way of that goal.
A 4-2 victory over Anaheim sealed the deal and left Ducks fans with an extra bitter taste in their mouth. In the words of a Kings fan heading to their car “It’s always a good day when we beat the Ducks!” Ducks fans feel the same way about the Kings. They just haven’t been able to feel that way for the majority of this season, seeing as the Kings took five out of six games.
Getting behind 3-0 in the first period did nothing to help the Ducks cause.
Alec Martinez put Los Angeles on the board just 2:40 into the game. Jonas Hiller looked just a split second too slow to stop the shot that careened over his glove hand.
Anze Kopitar took note of the weakness and made it 2-0 at 9:33 by putting his shot over the glove hand as well. To add insult to injury, Justin Williams extended the lead with just :08 seconds left in the period by crashing the net and getting a goal.
The Ducks? Didn’t get a whole lot of quality chances in the first period.
“They outplayed us really badly and they came away with the 3-0 lead,” said coach Bruce Boudreau. “It’s hard to come back after that against a good team, especially a good defensive team like that.”
Anaheim did put up a little bit of a fight.
Cam Fowler got his first goal since December while on the power play. His shot from the blue line at 3:41 went through traffic and trickled through Jonathan Quick’s legs. Even if the puck had not gone in, Corey Perry, who was back in the line up after missing two games with a shoulder injury, was there to finish it off.
Hiller had to keep the Ducks in the game by stopping 19 shots in the middle period alone and 39 overall. Quick had a lot quieter work load with half the shots.
Luca Sbisa, also back in the line up after missing two games with back spasms, continued the defense’s offense with a quirky goal at 3:53 of the third period. The puck hit Quick’s chest protector and bounced over his head and into the net. Not much you can do to stop that one.
Unable to put anything else past Quick, the Ducks pulled Hiller for the extra attacker. At least they kep trying to pull the goalie. The Kings felt very comfortable in the Ducks zone and did not vacate for long.
An empty net goal by Mike Richards at 19:49 sealed the deal for the Kings. Teemu Selanne, who assisted on both Ducks goals, looked both mad and disgusted at the same time. Ducks fans could certainly sympathize.
“We played hard at the end and in the second half of the game, but we weren’t ready to play this hockey game,” said Ryan Getzlaf. “It starts in the first period and we weren’t ready to start on time.”
That could sum up the whole season – just not ready to go and give it their all for 60 minutes.
IN OTHER NOTES: Goaltender John Gibson was signed to a three year entry level contract on Thursday. Gibson, 18, was drafted by the Ducks last June and shows great promise.