A tough loss for the Los Angeles Kings in their first matchup with the Anaheim Ducks this season. It's hard to know where to start with this one, so we'll let Darryl Sutter explain some things. Take it away!
(all quotes via LA Kings Insider)
They’re a much better team that we are. They proved it last year and they did again tonight.
Oh, so we're getting sarcastic Darryl Sutter tonight. Maybe this won't be as helpful as we thought.
Sutter's attitude aside, he's right about one thing: the Ducks are a better team than the Kings right now. Anaheim was without their best offensive player (mumps? who knew?), and they absolutely took it to LA in the first period. The Kings got two shots in the first 70 seconds and barely sniffed Frederik Andersen's net for the rest of the frame. Remarkably, they emerged from it with a two-goal lead thanks to two stars who have been somewhat quiet this year. Anze Kopitar had five points through the first 12 games, but he clearly has his legs back if his first goal was any indication; Marian Gaborik gave him a lead pass, and he blew by Sami Vatanen so quickly that Vatanen could only hook him from behind to prevent a goal. Kopitar made the ensuing penalty shot look easy, using Jeff Carter's trademark move to slip a backhand through Andersen's legs.
Drew Doughty got his first goal of the season on a whirling slapshot that ended up being perfectly placed, over the shoulder of Andersen. LA finished the first period at five shots to Anaheim's 15, but the goals masked their deficiencies. It went down as a rough one for Andersen, who gave up an extremely soft goal to Trevor Lewis in the second and got yanked immediately. That gave LA a 3-1 lead-
I don’t think we let it ‘get away.’ We never really had the lead... I know you define it by goals having a lead, but we really never had the lead.
All right. So, not a lead. At any rate, the score was 3-1. We've told you how Andersen did. What about Jonathan Quick?
If it wasn’t for Jonathan, it wasn’t even close.
That became more clear over the course of the game. The Ducks got two in the second period as they again dominated the shot battle, but Quick kept LA on top thanks to stops like this one:
Quick's final stat line wasn't his best, but the sheer volume (44 saves on 49 shots) and the way Anaheim skated circles around LA made it a decent performance. At the very least, he saved a point. The Kings' defense was a primary reason why the Ducks got two of them.
I don’t think we had much energy, much focus, much execution. We used a short bench.
Jamie McBain and Brayden McNabb made defending the Ducks look... whatever the opposite of easy is. McBain was undressed on this move by Kesler so badly that he went skidding across the ice, while McNabb was blocked off from pursuing Kesler as he finished the wraparound to close the gap to 5-4. Alec Martinez looked like a player who probably shouldn't be getting 26 minutes of ice time. Even Doughty and Jake Muzzin had their issues, though not as many; Ryan Getzlaf 's game-tying goal couldn't be blamed on the defenders, as he simply made an excellent tip on a surprising shot by Devante Smith-Pelly. A number of people on Twitter suggested splitting 6 and 8 up until the defense is somewhat restored, and it ain't looking like a bad idea.
It was just kind of a pond hockey game. It looked like one of our preseason games.
That suited Marian Gaborik well; he zoomed by Vatanen to put LA up 4-3 after Kesler had tied the game up early in the third, and his +9 Corsi at even strength was far and away the best on the team. It didn't suit the rest of the team very well, as Anaheim finished with a massive advantage in possession. After their unsurprising late goal to tie it up, they eventually got what they deserved in a shootout. Naturally, the winning goaltender was Jason LaBarbera, who had replaced Andersen halfway through. Sutter's summary?
How’d I describe it? Lost in a shootout.
So it sounds like it was a rough one. Might stick in Darryl Sutter's craw for a long t-
Aw, we’ve had such an awful three years. I don’t know how I can come up with anything to tell them after we lose a game.
I guess he's moved on. Good thing: Dallas tonight.