When the Ducks and Kings get together, it never disappoints. Good, bad, so-so, both teams find the necessary energy and enthusiasm (not to mention a certain level of hate) to make the games worth watching.
The 4-3 shootout win by the Ducks on Sunday was no exception.
"We knew it was going to be an emotional game out there," said Corey Perry. "They’ve been playing well. Everybody knows they're hitting their stride. When you can come away with a big win like tonight, it’s huge."
Even though the Kings had played the day before, they did not look like a tired team. In fact, they outshot the Ducks 38 – 22. But the only numbers that mattered were how many pucks went in the net.
Kyle Palmieri gave Anaheim and their sold out arena of fans a boost by scoring first at 2:54. Jonathan Bernier, who has been impeccable in his back up role for the Kings this season, made a good poke check that unfortunately went right off Palmieri and in the net.
The referees, unlike other games recently involving the Ducks, actually used their whistles and tried to run a tight ship where penalties were concerned.
Drew Doughty evened things up for Los Angeles with a power play goal at 5:59 of the second period.
Anaheim took back the lead on a gorgeous goal from Perry at 18:13. Perry got behind the Kings defense and took off towards Bernier. He made the shot look easy.
Los Angeles was only too happy to even it up again at 19:30 with a goal from Jeff Carter. Viktor Fasth's timing was just a hair too late and Carter got the puck in behind him.
With Carter off for slashing in the third period, Matt Beleskey got a power play goal at 4:54 to continue the ping ponging score.
The Ducks managed to hold off the attacking Kings and it looked like there might be a possibility the game could end in regulation, but Los Angeles had other ideas about that.
"They're big, they can skate, they're skilled, they're strong. What else can you say?" said coach Bruce Boudreau. "They're Stanley Cup champions. And when they get down, they know how to push harder. I mean, every time we scored a goal, they came back harder. I mean they have no quit in them, which is what happens when you become a Stanley Cup champion … it's a big test for our group, because I knew [the Kings] wanted to come in here and win."
Dustin Brown affirmed that desire when he got the game tying goal at 16:15. Brown had missed on a great short handed opportunity in the first period and so this goal vindicated him.
The extra five minutes of overtime did nothing to resolve the score, so a shootout was needed. The Ducks were 100% perfect in the shootout, with Bobby Ryan, Saku Koivu and Perry scoring. Only Carter scored for the Kings, so when Perry took his chance, that was all the Ducks needed for the win.
"Corey Perry scores goals, right?" Kings coach Darryl Sutter said in his usual wry manner. "If you check, he wins scoring titles. If you give him breakaways … and he actually has two tonight, didn't he? [He] scored on both."
Perry needed to step up his game in light of the continued absence of Ryan Getzlaf, who was still out with a tweaked leg.
"We needed that just for the team, just for the psyche," said Sheldon Souray after the game. "(Getzlaf's) a world-class player and he means so much to us. It just means that when other guys are having the opportunity to play and get in the lineup, we still have to play the same team game, and we did that tonight and got the result."
The Ducks are looking for similar results on Monday night when they face the second of back to back games against Edmonton.