The Ducks had to gut this one out, but the 2-1 victory against the Kings was a hit. Literally. The Ducks registered 48 hits to the Kings 24. Bags of ice had to have been scarce after the game.
It was the first of back to back games against their crosstown and divisional rivals. The first was in front of a sold out, loud, raucous Honda Center. The second will be on Saturday at an even larger venue – Dodger Stadium. Three times the audience should equal three times the noise.
Anaheim and Los Angeles never have any trouble bringing their best games when they play each other and this one was good from the get go.
"This is the type of game you put up on the bulletin board and say, 'This is what playoff hockey is all about,'" said Dustin Penner.
Anaheim could not get on the board in the first period, with Jonathan Quick doing a terrific job stopping everything he saw. But Anze Kopitar put the Kings on the board at 3:13.
"There's always frustration when you get shut out like that in your own building, but it's how you bounce back," said Penner. "The team showed a lot of resolve."
The bounce back came from Penner in the second period. Penner tipped in Corey Perry's shot on the power play at 13:51 to tie things up.
That goal came after one from Ben Lovejoy had been disallowed. Tim Jackman, perched in front of the crease, allegedly interfered with Quick. Jackman had brushed against the netminder, but it was questionable whether it was enough to waive off a goal.
What it did do was motivate the Ducks and confirm that you can't stop what you can't see. Get more traffic in front of Quick, which is exactly what the Ducks did.
With bodies in front of the crease looking like a mosh pit at a concert, Patrick Maroon took a rebound and wrapped it around the net and in past Quick at 17:53. It gave the Ducks the lead and was the eventually game winner, Maroon's first of his young career.
"I think we knew what we did in the first period wasn’t good enough," said Maroon. "After we got pucks deep in the second period, we were physical all over the ice. We worked their defense down low. We know they’ve played a lot of games these past few days, so we knew what we had to do."
Maroon has been a hard worker for the past several games that he has been inserted into the line up. It was nice to see him rewarded for his efforts.
"He's big, he hits, he gets goals," praised coach Bruce Boudreau. "He makes it awful difficult to give him a night off."
Given his success for the past two games, someone else can continue on the healthy scratch list on Saturday night.
The Ducks were able to hang on to a 2-1 lead and make it stick. The credit goes to both the Ducks and rookie Frederik Andersen, who got the nod in net. Andersen made 30 saves for the win and considering the past couple of games have not been Jonas Hiller's best, Andersen might be the better choice for Saturday night as well.
"I know every time we play this team, it’s a man’s game," said Boudreau. "You better be prepared to hit, and be hit, because they’re so good."
Even though the Kings have lost their past four games, they will be dangerous on Saturday night, as they are every time the two teams meet up.
"One game in January doesn’t mean we’re a better team than them," said Lovejoy. "They played a great game tonight. We were one goal better than them, barely. We’re two very evenly matched teams, and we need to bring it on Saturday in order to be successful."
Bring on the Stadium Series!