LA Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks Recap, Game #24: Fight night, on ice!
It seemed the Kings would suffer from offensive anemia again. But former and current captains Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar delivered when Los Angeles needed them most.
After an intense, entertaining overtime win by the Kings against the Anaheim Ducks on November 7 (the last time Nick Shore scored a goal...sigh), what could be next?
Fight night at Staples! On ice!
Welcome to Fight Club: California chapter. ✊️ pic.twitter.com/JwPAUm0qcH— hockeyfights (@hockeyfights) November 26, 2017
Less than two minutes in, the 6’5” Kurtis MacDermid bullied the 5”10” Mike Liambas out of his lunch money. Then at 4:40, the mild-mannered Oscar Fantenberg (whoa, out of all people!) tangled it up against Andrew Cogliano, but Fantenberg fell down trying. (My theory? Fantenberg feels his roster spot is insecure and that’s what young players do to show they want it.) And at 9:25, the always-agitated Andy Andreoff got KO’d by a single Falcon Punch from Kevin Bieksa. You couldn’t help but smile sadistically along with Chris Wagner. Revenge was sweet for the Ducks, and payback was an itch for Andreoff, who decked Jared Boll with one punch the last time the two teams met.
Kings rep says Andreoff will not return tonight.— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) November 26, 2017
Corey Perry walked behind the goal line and dished the puck to Nick Ritchie at the hash marks, who beat Jonathan Quick before being sandwiched by Derek Forbort and Shore. It was 1-0 Anaheim at 10:08, but at least the fights were even.
Aside from that, the Kings outshot the Ducks and had two power plays, but once again, had nothing to show for their efforts.
The best chance for the Kings was a tip by Trevor Lewis from a Tanner Pearson shot was just wide. The Kings pressure increased, but the Ducks also kept Quick honest with a few precarious chances. It seemed like every attempt by Los Angeles was met by Anaheim shot blockers. Pearson and Tyler Toffoli went on the rush but the centering pass did not connect. A 2-on-1 with Shore and Pearson did not score, but drew a penalty at 19:38.
The Ducks started out stronger. A feed down low to Jakob Silfverberg was stopped by the pad of Quick. Another chance in the slot by Derek Grant was deflected up high by Drew Doughty.
Alex Iafallo made a rookie mistake, playing the puck when he shouldn’t have for too many men on the ice. Two Ducks collided on the power play, leaving Trevor Lewis alone for a shorthanded try which was saved by Ryan Miller.
Then the Kings established possession, but once again could not direct the puck toward the net.
With 7:45 remaining, Kings fans cheered in desperation along with Eric Cartman. Perry shot the puck at the back of Quick, trying to bank it in. Forbort then received the puck along the left point and drove in like a forward. The shot got through Miller but hit the goal post.
Three minutes later, a slot chance by Cogliano was saved by Quick. Then Miller robbed a sharp-angle chance by Marian Gaborik, who caught a fanned pass by Adrian Kempe. In the next faceoff, the puck was handed to Doughty, who had a lane open up for him for essentially a breakaway! Miller showed his glove and Doughty shot right into it, causing him to mutter his prayers afterward.
With 1:42 left, Quick was pulled after a Ducks icing. Kopitar won the draw and Doughty’s point shot deflected wide. But Dustin Brown picked up the garbage. Brown’s second try after a wraparound went in top shelf, off the forearm of Hampus Lindholm, to tie the game with 1:32 left. Trevor Lewis was amazing with his boxout of two Ducks players to give Brown room.
The Ducks did not go away. This time Chris Wagner had an open lane after a drag move around Forbort, but Quick was up to task. Lewis then checked a man to keep the play alive on offense, but a centering pass went to no one.
The Kings avoided being shut out for the first time this season.
Kopitar and Doughty were too fancy to start, and coughed up the puck to Anaheim. But an acceleration move by Doughty almost won it for the Kings.
After an Alec Martinez penetration move which drew cheers from the crowd, Kopitar had the puck with an eternity. His shot fluttered wide. Dustin Brown picked up the garbage again and centered it, but was clipped for a high sticking penalty by Brandon Montour with 2:08 remaining.
The Ducks used their timeout. A one-timer to Gaborik was fanned on. But mostly, the power play was too much passing, not enough shooting.
Anaheim 2-1 in shootouts this season, Kings 1-0. The Kings were woeful in shootouts a few seasons ago; can they do this?
Jussi Jokinen: A great first choice. To the right like usual, but Ryan Miller gave him no angle.
Corey Perry: Right down the middle, hooks to the right around Quick and scored.
Jonny Brodzinski: First career shootout attempt. Lost the handle.
Jakob Silfverberg: Up high and wide.
Anze Kopitar: Why not Kempe? To the left, swings right, then at the last moment braked, turned left and scored!
Cam Fowler: To the right, to the middle, had Quick beat, but off the post!
Trevor Lewis: Never scored in a shootout, but this time he shot it in to the right of Miller as Miller leaned left!
Kevin Roy: Circles right, then left, but Quick did not bite as Roy was turned away! Kings win.
A hard-fought win (not just the first period). It was decided by inches in the shootout. After losing seven of their last eight, tonight’s win was much needed. It seemed the Kings would suffer from offensive anemia again. But the Kings, when they focus, are capable of defeating anyone. With less than two minutes in regulation, former captain Dustin Brown led the Kings to the tie after a perfect faceoff win from Kopitar.
I’ve never said this before—Trevor Lewis was tonight’s hero. His boxing out facilitated the Brown tying goal, and his slick wrister defeated Miller for the game-winning shootout goal. If this year is defined by the renaissance of Brown and Kopitar, it is also defined by the late emergence of the true talent of Lewis.
Even better, the Kings, who struggle with shootouts, eked out a shootout win, with current captain Kopitar delivering under pressure. More importantly, the Kings keep the Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, and Anaheim at bay—for now.