Somehow, some way, the Kings have won three of four games as they kept the flightless Anaheim Ducks grounded while giving interim coach Willie Desjardins’ a 4-1 win in his debut.
Inexplicably, the Ducks donned their 25th anniversary jerseys forcing the Kings into their road whites. Luckily, the Ducks played like they did in 1993 and a revitalized Kings team sent their injury-ravished rivals to an eighth loss in their last nine games.
Dustin Brown got the Kings off to flying start, on the resurgent power play no less, batting a blind backhander from Ilya Kovalchuk past Ducks goalie John Gibson just 6-1/2 minutes into the game.
Kyle Clifford looked every bit a 40-goal giant, scoring off the rush at 13:22 of the first as the Kings made it 2-0. “We came prepared to play today,” said Clifford. “I thought our pace was up, we played hard and we played with passion, “
Ilya Kovalchuk, who had a goal and two assists, opened up who proved to be an insurmountable 301 lead at 4:54 of the second period capitalizing on a “Martin Brodeur-like” full ice pass from Kings goalie Jack Campbell [30 saves].
”I think I can be much better. It’s still an adjustment,” explained Kovalchuk. “I’ve played with all different guys, but it doesn’t matter. You just have to be ready when coach calls your name.”
With only practice under his belt, Desjardins looked to fulfill general manager Rob Blake’s mandate for his player to be more emotionally involved and to play faster, and seemed to find it. “I think Iafallo was pretty good. Like, he has more speed than I thought. Lewis is pretty quick, too, so there’s a couple guys that are a little quicker than I thought, maybe. I thought there was good balance throughout the lines.”
Meanwhile, Ryan Kesler of the Ducks was left looking for answers, “We just got bullied out there. You know, they played their game and they pushed us around and we really just had no response.”
NEXT: The Kings play the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
GAME NOTES: Stars of the Game: First – Kovlachuk, Second – Campbell, Third – Clifford… Kovalchuk leads the Kings with 14 points and now has 829 points in 829 games… Ducks forward Brian Gibbons collided with teammate Andrew Cogliano as Ryan Kesler was scoring to make it 3-1. Gibbons bled onto the ice before leaving to the dressing room. He returned in the third period... Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf played after missing one game (UBI), but Anaheim played without Corey Perry, Nick Ritchie. and Ondrej Kase... Gibson finished with 23 saves… The Kings blocked 23 shots, led by Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin (five each)… The clubs met for the 138th time with the Kings improving to 61-51-26.
The Ducks’ Sherwood gets Muzzin’ed:
Jack Campbell channels his inner Quick: