LOS ANGELES – Not so Fasth, Anaheim Ducks.
In an impressive conjuring of the aggressive and methodical style from last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings put on a third period that finally stunted their Southern California rivals.
Not even Swedish sensation Viktor Fasth could stop the Kings from pouring in two goals in a two-minute span for a 5-2 victory Monday night in a game that lived up to every bit of its hype.
Slava Voynov one timed Anze Kopitar's pass for the go-ahead goal at 4:36, and Jake Muzzin wristed a shot glove side on Fasth on the power play at 6:23 to send the Staples Center crowd into a frenzy as if it were last spring. L.A. ended Anaheim's bid at a franchise-record tying seventh straight win and handed Fasth (8-1) his first career loss.
"We constantly kept saying in here how important these two points were – a division game, a team that's hot right now," Drew Doughty said. "For us to win that and come out and win that third period, that was the first time I felt we were clicking like we had last year. The crowd was going nuts. We just had all the momentum that third and they had no chance."
Fasth made was attempting to tie Ray Emery for the longest winning streak to start a National Hockey League career. Jonathan Quick stopped 24 shots to outduel him in the pun-happy Quick-Fasth matchup.
Fasth couldn't be faulted much. He gave his team a 2-2 score going into the third and stopped Dustin Brown on a penalty shot in the third. But the hard-charging defending champs eventually busted down the door.
"It had to come at some point," Fasth said. "For every win you have, you get closer to a [loss]. Just start over, and work hard in practice … we have to forget this and move on. I felt like that during the whole game that I had to work really hard to see the pucks and to keep them to me. It's one of those games."
Captains Ryan Getzlaf and Dustin Brown lived up to their titles in an equally entertaining second period.
Getzlaf wheeled around both corners and sent a loose puck to the crease that Andrew Cogliano whacked home just 13 seconds in. Brown took a pass from Kopitar and ripped a wrist shot from high between the circles that hit the crossbar and skidded across the goal line for a 2-2 score going into the third period.
Anaheim's six previous wins had all been comeback victories, but this might have been too much to ask against the defending champions, who have Brown and Kopitar back in form. They combined for a goal and four assists and a plus-four rating and have four goals and six assists the past three games.
"Once they scored that third goal it didn't seem like we had the push to sustain any rushes against," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It was a tough situation for us. We didn't get a chance to breathe. Basically, every time we touched the puck they were on us. Especially after they scored and the crowd was energized and they were energized."
Brown redeemed his tripping penalty that led to Saku Koivu's power-play goal. Koivu put in a loose puck after Rob Scuderi just missed clearing it from the goal mouth. Dustin Penner added his first goal since his overtime tally in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, on a backhand re-direct of Jarret Stoll's pass.
In between there was the expected bad blood, manifested in Jordan Nolan's fight with Sheldon Souray, Quick's healthy push in the back of Kyle Palmieri and Doughty's pancake of Beauchemin.
Doughty, who had earlier opined that he felt his team should be better than Anaheim, said Nolan's engagement was a turning point.
"Souray's a huge guy and he's always trying to be an intimidator, all chirping and stuff like that," Doughty said. "For [Nolan] to step up like that and beat a guy that's bigger, stronger than him and beat him pretty good, too. It was great to see."
The teams were credited for 32 total hits in the scoreless opening period -- the polar opposite of their 11-goal meeting on Feb.2.
Luca Sbisa was a healthy scratch for the first time since Oct.15, 2010.