Kings prevail in shootout with Ducks
LOS ANGELES — The level of aggression from the last time the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks played this season carried over to Saturday night.
But after three fights in the first 10 minutes, the game ultimately came down to finesse and determination.
The Kings scored late in regulation and then won in a shootout 2-1 at Staples Center on Saturday night.
Trevor Lewis and Anze Kopitar scored in the shootout and also assisted on Dustin Brown’s tying goal with 1:32 left in the third period.
“These games against Anaheim always seem to have an extra edge and I think that showed in the first period,” Brown said. “It was a grind and we got through it.”
Kopitar won a faceoff in the Anaheim zone and the puck went to Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. He took a shot from the point and Lewis and Brown slapped away at the rebound until Brown lifted it by Ducks goaltender Ryan Miller with the Kings goalie Jonathan Quick pulled for an extra attacker.
“I actually had an empty net right before and didn’t get my stick on the puck,” Brown said. (Miller) made another good save and I think he kicked it back to me. ... I had an empty net and just shot it and it went off their D and into the net.”
Quick made 26 saves in regulation and stopped Kevin Roy to end the shootout and his six-game losing streak.
Miller made 34 saves for the Ducks, the last on a power play in the final two minutes of overtime. Nick Ritchie scored midway through the first period for Anaheim.
It was Miller’s fourth start of the season and first since Nov. 9, when he left in the third period of a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks because of a lower-body injury. He came off injured reserve on Friday.
The Ducks (10-9-4) played their 12th straight game in California, falling to 5-4-3 in that span. They’ll continue their six-game road trip against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.
“If we can have that enthusiasm and that compete level in these upcoming games, then we’ll get points,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said.
The Kings (13-8-3) finished 3-5-1 in nine home games in November. They begin a four-game road trip against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.
The Ducks took a 1-0 lead at 10:08 of the first period.
Corey Perry faked a shot from the right circle and took the puck behind the net and out the other side, where he spotted a wide-open Ritchie in the slot. Ritchie sent his one-timer into the open right side of the net for his third goal of the season.
Ritchie’s goal came 43 seconds after Anaheim defenseman Kevin Bieksa knocked down Los Angeles forward Andy Andreoff in a one-punch fight, sending Andreoff to the dressing room for evaluation. He did not return.
Ducks rookie forward Mike Liambas dropped the gloves with Kings defenseman Kurtis MacDermid 1:53 into the game. In the first game against Anaheim this season, MacDermid received a game misconduct for a hit on forward Ondrej Kase, which has sidelined him ever since.
Before the start of the game, Anaheim announced it would be without forward Rickard Rakell, who leads the Ducks in goals (eight) and points (18). Rakell is day to day with an upper-body injury.
The Ducks were already without their top two centers, Ryan Getzlaf (fractured facial bone) and Ryan Kesler (offseason hip surgery), and high-scoring right winger Patrick Eaves (illness).
“We know we’re stressed in our lineup to our bare bones here, so all you can ask of your players is to give you what they did tonight,” Carlyle said. “We’re not going to be critical of them. I thought they played it and left it out on the ice and gave it everything they had.”
NOTES: Ducks C Kalle Kossila was recalled from San Diego of the American Hockey League. He had one shot on goal in 3:30. ... Kings C Torrey Mitchell was in Los Angeles but unable to make his team debut because of immigration issues. The Kings acquired Mitchell from the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday in exchange for a conditional draft pick. ... Miller came in with a .930 save percentage in 17 career games against the Kings, third lowest among all opponents behind the Nashville Predators (.931) and Arizona Coyotes (.945).