By Aaron Francis
The Anaheim Ducks played host to the cross-town rival Los Angeles Kings in game two of the Freeway Faceoff this season. The Ducks shut out the Kings last meeting in a 4-0 win, with Rickard Rakell returning to the lineup in a show-stopping performance. John Gibson started for the Ducks and Peter Budaj played in goal for the Kings.
The first period ended as it began tied 0-0. The game opened up with a quick tripping penalty in the first minute against the Kings Drew Doughty. The Ducks could not cleanly enter the Kings zone and as a result, the penalty was killed off with no shots from the Ducks. The Kings had the control of the play for most of the first half with only a few chances from Chris Wagner, and a tip by Corey Perry. LA took another penalty when Jeff Carter was called for slashing. However, a very similar result occurred, with no shots by the Ducks as the power play ended. Off the face-off, Jared Boll got tangled up in a fight with Jordan Nolan resulting in several right punches from Boll as well as a punishing uppercut before Nolan dragged them both to the ice. They each received five for fighting. Late in the period Alec Martinez was called for tripping a tripping penalty which would carry over to the 2nd. The best chance came as a shorthanded bid from Jeff Carter that was gloved aside by John Gibson. LA led in shots after the first 9-5.
The Ducks dug themselves a hole this period allowing LA to put up three goals including two on the Power Play. The period started with the Kings killing off the remainder of the Alec Martinez penalty. From there The Kings had the Ducks trapped in their own zone the entire first five minutes and it eventually resulted in a goal for LA by Drew Doughty. The LA Kings pressure continued with big saves from John Gibson on two Tyler Toffoli chances. The Ducks managed just a few good shots on Peter Budaj from Hampus Lindholm and Nick Ritchie. The major turning point in the period was when the Kings got on the Power Play. Ryan Getzlaf took a roughing penalty and it ended in a Kings’ goal from Jeff Carter. The game now at 2-0 Kings the next Ducks penalty, a holding call on Kevin Bieksa, truly allowed LA to take full control. Very early on the power play, Jeff Carter scored again off a rebound in close. Despite having the best of the play, LA sat back a bit in the final five minutes as the Ducks top two lines had some chances late. Matt Greene took a hooking penalty and the Ducks couldn’t convert causing the penalty to carry over into the third. Anaheim was outshot 26-13 in the second period.
The Ducks found their game this period scoring two goals but fell short of tying the game. Similar to the start of the second, the Kings killed off the remainder of their penalty. Josh Manson took a tripping penalty that put LA on the power play. Jakob Silfverberg would have a shorthanded chance and Kyle Clifford took a bad roughing penalty. The two teams skated four on four just 34 seconds however Anaheim was able to break through on a tip by Antoine Vermette. Hampus Lindholm assisted on the goal shooting the puck from the blue line giving him his first point of the season. Drew Doughty made a key block on the remainder of the Ducks Power Play and the Kings killed it off. Nick Ritchie had a chance in alone with Peter Budaj but couldn’t elevate his backhand, Jordan Nolan was called for slashing. The Ducks thought Ryan Kesler had scored on this Power Play but the play had been whistled dead, no goal. The Ducks would, however, score on that power play as John Gibson stretched the pass from the defensive zone to set up a Rickard Rakell goal. The Ducks stormed the castle the rest of the way, Josh Manson hit the post and Ryan Getzlaf was tripped on a rush towards Peter Budaj. Derek Forbort was called for tripping and the Ducks had a late power play. Off the faceoff win the Ducks pulled John Gibson to play 6 on 4 the rest of the way but despite some chances couldn’t get the tying goal. The final shot total saw the Ducks outshoot the Kings 30-29.
The Ducks weren’t able to take advantage of an injured LA Kings team that was missing Captain Anze Kopitar and goalie Johnathan Quick. They were able to stay in the game early on, thanks to the play of Gibson but they were clearly outplayed by a hungrier LA team. It was nice to see the team respond to being down but they didn’t have enough to overcome the 3-0 deficit they had made for themselves.
It seems that all important first goal was a key part of this Ducks lost. They look deflated the rest of the 2nd and it wasn’t until they scored their first goal that they were able to create a stable offense. They were unable to neutralize Jeff Carter who scored twice and got one assist, factoring in on all three Kings goals. They can be proud of their comeback effort but also need to build off the momentum they formed in the third and not get off to such a slow start.
Hampus Lindholm scored his first point of the season and finished the night with two assists.
John Gibson made 26 saves on 29 shots finishing with .897 save percentage
The Ducks will host the New York Islanders on Tuesday at 7 pm.
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