12 hours later, are we still angry about that game-tying goal being waved off? Given that the Los Angeles Kings are pretty much locked into their current playoff position, it's likely that this loss won't affect them too much in any direction. That's a good thing, because if it does, we'll be complaining about this one for a while. An apparent game-tying goal by Anze Kopitar was waved off when Marian Gaborik was called for goaltender interference, and the Kings lost to the Anaheim Ducks for the third straight time.
This one had all the hallmarks of a frustrating Kings-Ducks game; LA doubling up the Ducks in shots, the opposing goaltender (tonight, Frederik Andersen) standing on his head, a goal off of an unfortunate deflection... great, now I am actually angry again. So let's just get to the summary. The Kings and Ducks both had their chances in a fast-paced opening period. Anaheim had a few shots stopped right off the bat, while LA didn't even get a shot on an early power play and had Gaborik robbed on a backhand from close range. After the Ducks' fourth line outworked the Kings' first line, Mathieu Perreault set up Tim Jackman for the game's first goal.
LA felt they had seized the momentum on a power play midway through the second, when Tyler Toffoli equalized. On the Kings' broadcast, much was made of the fact that Anaheim led the NHL with 88 second period goals, while LA was last with 41. But the Kings scored when Jarret Stoll observed fundamentals and placed his shot low to the far side of Andersen. Andersen could only kick out the rebound to a waiting Toffoli, who tapped it in. But the resilient Ducks got the goal right back, as a sliding Jake Muzzin redirected Patrick Maroon's pass past Martin Jones. It was the first shot by either team since Toffoli's goal, and the Kings had to come back all over again.
The Kings got the better of the action in the rest of the second, and though the third period was more evenly played, they still had their chances. Chief among them, of course, was Gaborik's no goal. It's worth noting that the referee's decision was, technically, an opinion. That already makes it sting less than the magical netting goal Detroit scored on us. However, given that it was at home against a rival who might need these two points to win the Pacific Division, it was a tough pill to swallow. The fans responded to the disallowed goal by throwing trash on the ice, which means I can no longer insult Phoenix Coyotes fans for throwing debris after Game 5 of the 2012 Conference Finals.
(Seriously, Kings fans, you're so much better than that.)
Of course, no one in their right mind thought LA would be able to tie the game after that, but they tried. Frederik Andersen stood tall though, finishing off a 37-save performance and a 2-1 win for the Ducks. Remember that article we posted a month ago, about how the Kings seem to lose quite often when dominating the shot battle? This game fits nicely into that narrative. Aside from the obvious lack of goals, it's hard to get too worked up over the Kings' performance, but this loss makes it even more apparent that catching the Ducks (or the Sharks) is an extremely remote possibility. In other words, get ready to start the playoffs outside of Los Angeles.