ANAHEIM, Calif. – Shortly after the Anaheim Ducks blew yet another lead on an unfortunate bounce, coach Bruce Boudreau called a timeout, gathered his players and told them to move forward. Captain Ryan Getzlaf also spoke.
"Getzy just said, 'Those bounces aren't going to beat us. We'll be OK. Don't hang our heads and let's go,'" forward Bobby Ryan said. "You know, kind of the rah-rah stuff."
The Ducks listened, followed through and got a bounce of their own to avoid another debacle as Ryan chipped the puck into the net with 48.8 seconds remaining for a 3-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night at Honda Center for Boudreau's first victory with Anaheim.
"It's not the Cup, but it felt pretty good," Boudreau said. "I felt really good for the players, because they were smiling. They worked so hard. Had it gone the other way after another (blown) lead like that, I was a little worried about it. We got a lucky break, and they got a lucky break, so it sort of evened out."
Ryan swatted home the puck off Drew Doughty on a faceoff play by Teemu Selanne against Anze Kopitar to the left of Jonathan Quick. Ryan then exulted and did his signature celebratory crash into the corner glass.
The Ducks blew a two-goal lead for the third straight game and fourth time in six games, but all that doubt dissolved when Ryan scored.
"It found a way to go in," Ryan said. "For us, giving leads up like that, it's a whole different feeling coming into this room tonight. It's huge. I think tonight the way we started, and the way we carried ourselves through the second ... there was a feeling going into the third that we were going to be OK."
It was only Anaheim's fourth win in the past 22 games and a much-needed injection to a team that had hit rock bottom in its confidence. It was fitting that Selanne assisted on both of Ryan's goals given a conversation that took place Tuesday morning.
"It's funny," Ryan said. "Teemu told me this morning that things are going to start going. He's been through it a little bit – maybe not to this extent – but it's nice to rely on a guy that's scored that many goals when he tells you that you'll come out of it."
Anaheim was outshot 23-8 in the final period, but it took away plenty of encouraging signs. The new second line combo of Ryan, Selanne and Saku Koivu showed chemistry, as did Matt Beleskey with Getzlaf and Corey Perry on the top line.
L.A. completed a comeback from 2-0 down by way of a Cam Fowler clearing pass that took a weird bounce off the glass. Jarret Stoll collected it and dished to Justin Williams for a bang-in goal from the right side at 8:50.
That ended a 17-game goal-scoring drought for Williams, who was demoted to the third line last week before taking back his usual top-line left-wing spot.
The Southern California rivals are tied for 28th in the NHL in scoring, and the game played out as expected. Both teams went scoreless on two power plays.
Kings coach Terry Murray mixed up all his lines late and watched his team control most of the play in the final 20 minutes. L.A. was held to two or fewer goals for the sixth straight game.
"We have to find more pucks around the net and get around the net," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "We don't have enough guys that are staying around the net right now."
Murray had a more positive view.
"I thought we generated some good opportunities here tonight," he said. "(Jonas) Hiller played well, he made some big stops. We had plenty of good looks and point-blank situations. I liked our attitude about pucks to the net, more traffic to the net. It was better."
Murray saw an improved game from Dustin Penner, who helped pull the Kings to 2-1 with 15 seconds to go in the second period. Penner zipped a nifty pass from the corner that Slava Voynov snapped in off Hiller's blocker.
Anaheim's top two lines had a strong first 40 minutes and gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead. Perry tapped in Getzlaf's pass from the slot to finish a nice cycle play at 7:59. Getzlaf got away from Colin Fraser near the corner as L.A.'s fourth line got caught out against Anaheim's No. 1 trio.
A Quick turnover led to the Ducks' first goal. Francois Beauchemin dumped it in and Quick had his pass to Rob Scuderi picked off by Selanne, who fed a falling Ryan for an open-net score at 17:37.
Quick was still solid and might have earned his team at least a point if not for a bounce or two.
"(Selanne) won the faceoff," Quick said. "He was just trying to put it on net. I think (Scuderi) got a stick on it, then it hit (Doughty) in the chin, knee or something, and kind of just lollipopped right into the net."
Perry briefly left the game in the second period when he fell awkwardly and took a cross check from Penner while prone.
Anaheim's George Parros returned to the lineup from an eye injury that kept him out of the previous 13 games.