Rank the Players: Kings Outlast Ducks, Control Own Destiny in Pacific
As expected, a tight showdown materialized at Staples Center. Unexpectedly, LA took both points in regulation.
It lived up to the billing according to Jim Fox and Nick Nickson, until it got unwatchable according to Elliott Teaford. Then it got very, very uncomfortable. After all was said and done, though, it was the Los Angeles Kings who gutted out a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. More importantly, it puts the Kings in an enviable position: win on Saturday, and they take home the Pacific Division title.
Time to rank the players:
Ryan Kesler (it's always Ryan Kesler) notched the game's first goal, but Anaheim's traditional second period troubles led to a Milan Lucic tally off Tanner Pearson's blocked clearance shortly after the restart. Kris Versteeg then tipped a shot onto the crossbar, shot the rebound against the post, and tapped in the third attempt to make it 2-1. Though LA had control of the game throughout the second, that's about when things got "unwatchable." Which suited LA fine, as they killed a couple penalties and clamped down.
Of course, given that the Kings had a one-goal lead in the third, the Ducks were going to charge, and they did. The last five minutes got hairy, but Drew Doughty made a couple game-saving plays (a crease clear and a net knocked off the moorings) and Jonathan Quick stopped everything to get his franchise record-breaking 40th win of the season. The Kings deserved to get two points, and they got them both with their first regulation win over the Ducks all year.
Recap to come, including Ryan Getzlaf getting punched in the face. Maybe. There was a fight.