November 7, 2018 / 6:45 AM / 12 days ago

Kovalchuk leads Kings past Ducks in Desjardins debut

Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and two assists Tuesday, and the Los Angeles Kings won 4-1 against the visiting Anaheim Ducks in the debut of coach Willie Desjardins.

Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist, Dustin Brown and Kyle Clifford also scored and Alec Martinez had two assists for the Kings, who fired John Stevens on Sunday after 18 months as head coach and hired Desjardins the same day. Jack Campbell had 30 saves and assisted on Kovalchuk’s goal.

Ryan Kesler scored for the Ducks, and John Gibson made 23 saves. Anaheim has lost eight of nine.

The Kings took a 2-0 lead in the first period and scored the first three goals overall.

Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano was in the penalty box for high-sticking Matt Luff when Kings defenseman Drew Doughty shot into traffic. Gibson pushed the puck out to his right, but Kovalchuk chased it down and shot it back toward the net.

Brown was in position to bat the puck out of midair and into the net for a 1-0 lead at 6:25.

Kings defenseman Dion Phaneuf was penalized for high-sticking Rickard Rakell 1:57 later, and the Ducks went on their first power play.

Anaheim kept the puck in the Los Angeles zone for the first 90 seconds, and Kings forward Nate Thompson lost his stick for most of that stretch, but Los Angeles killed the penalty with the help of three blocked shots and two saves by Campbell.

Clifford made it 2-0 after receiving a centering pass from Martinez and making a move on Gibson to get him sliding left. Clifford pulled the puck to his right and scored into the open side at 13:22.

Kovalchuk scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season at 4:54 of the second period. He got a stride ahead of Ducks rookie defenseman Jacob Larsson and scored off a feed from Toffoli.

Kesler cut the deficit to 3-1 when he deflected a shot from Marcus Pettersson at 13:21 of the second period. Toffoli added an empty-net goal at 17:54 of the third.

—Field Level Media

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