LOS ANGELES -- The opening five minutes of Game 3 let everyone know that the Anaheim Ducks were ready to take back Southern California: Matt Beleskey sent Drew Doughty head-over-skates into the bench. Corey Perry banged the glass to rattle the front-row fans.
The Ducks showed they are back in their first Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings with a 3-2 win on Thursday at Staples Center. Perry got his first point of the Western Conference Second Round, and Teemu Selanne scored the go-ahead goal for Anaheim, which pulled within 2-1 in the best-of-7 series by snapping the Kings' six-game win streak.
Game 4 is Saturday at Staples Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).
"We want and need to beat them," said Anaheim defenseman Ben Lovejoy, whose goal with 2;55 left made it 3-1. "Tonight, we proved we can, and hopefully leave a seed of doubt in their mind that the Ducks can play this game."
The Ducks might not have goalie Frederik Andersen available for Game 4. Andersen came out of Game 3 midway through the third period with what the Ducks said was a lower-body injury, and coach Bruce Boudreau said he's day-to-day, along with Beleskey, who left with a lower-body injury.
Boudreau made a bold move and started Andersen, a rookie, instead of Jonas Hiller, who seemed to take back the starting job after he relieved Andersen and won the series-clinching Game 6 of the first round against the Dallas Stars but lost Games 1 and 2 to the Kings and was 0-5-2 at Staples Center.
"Quite frankly, because [Andersen is] hurt right now, I looked at the record with both guys in Staples Center and Hiller was 0-7 in his career here and Freddie was 2-0," Boudreau said when asked why he went with Andersen. "I was like a little baseball manager and just went with the guy that was comfortable here. [Hiller] got the save."
This game was more about Anaheim asserting itself in an enemy building to avoid its first 3-0 series deficit since the 2006 Western Conference Final against the Edmonton Oilers. The Ducks got a strong game from captain Ryan Getzlaf and followed through after a great road start that took the energy out of the building.
Perry punctuated his power-play goal with the theatrics on the end-boards glass after he took a feed from Patrick Maroon, stationed to the left of goalie Jonathan Quick, and easily slammed it home on the power-play at 4:06 of the first period.
"It was nice," Perry said. "It felt great. It's a battle to score against these guys. It's one of those things where you've got to go in and you've got to pay the price to get to their house.
"We just keep pushing. We're a team that never gives up. There's a lot of character, a lot of depth in this room and we keep pushing."
Jeff Carter's power-play goal for Los Angeles early in the second period tied the game, but Selanne scored Anaheim's second extra-man goal with 4:50 remaining in the period to put the Ducks ahead.
Lovejoy's goal became the game-winner when the Kings' Mike Richards batted the puck out of midair and past Hiller with 30.8 seconds left. Anaheim didn't allow L.A. to get off another shot before the final horn.
Los Angeles lost its first game since April 22, when it fell into a 3-0 first-round series deficit to the San Jose Sharks. Kings center Anze Kopitar extended his point streak to 10 games.
Each side reiterated how little separates it from the other, and at least one Kings player acknowledged which team played like it wanted to avoid that 3-0 deficit.
"We just didn't have our best effort and our best performance," Richards said. "We were loose on some of our passes and just weren't moving the puck crisp enough, and they capitalized on their two power play goals … it's one game. We have to learn from it and get better and match their desperation in the next game."
The Ducks took a 2-1 lead after a turning point on special teams. The Kings killed off a 4-on-3 Ducks power play and appeared to grab some momentum, but Anaheim's Nick Bonino made a saucer pass to Selanne, who finished a 2-on-1 with his 44th playoff goal at 15:10, two seconds before Doughty's hooking penalty was set to expire. Two Kings collided in the neutral zone and Bonino came out with the puck, triggering the odd-man rush.
Kings coach Darryl Suter cited the "little turnover when it's 1-1" as the difference, but he emphasized that this series is about such details. Sutter also took note of Anaheim's waves of forwards.
"They're a high-scoring team," Sutter said. "If you allow them to get guys easy, fast opportunities toward our goaltender, they're going to beat us. That's what they did tonight."
Anaheim effectively took the crowd out of the game by grabbing a quick 1-0 lead on Perry's goal and using a stifling defense that allowed little sustained pressure by Los Angeles, which had four shots in the final 16 minutes of the first period.
"We just turned too many pucks over in our own zone, which allowed them to play a lot in the offensive zone and made us spend a lot of energy in the D-zone instead of going and playing in the other end," Richards said.
Vatanen played 20:19, including 2:34 on the power play.
"I thought Sami was great," Boudreau said. "I thought he was the best player on the ice for both teams tonight."
Maroon became the first NHL rookie to reach a postseason point streak of at least six games since Warren Rychel of the Kings in 1993. Los Angeles played its second straight game without injured defensemen Willie Mitchell and Robyn Regehr.
|PPG - Corey Perry (3) ASST: Patrick Maroon (5), Ryan Getzlaf (8)|
1 - 0 ANA
|PPG - Jeff Carter (3) ASST: Marian Gaborik (4), Anze Kopitar (11)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Teemu Selanne (2) ASST: Nick Bonino (2), Hampus Lindholm (1)|
2 - 1 ANA
|Ben Lovejoy (2) ASST: Andrew Cogliano (4)|
3 - 1 ANA
|Mike Richards (1) ASST: Tanner Pearson (4), Jeff Carter (5)|
3 - 2 ANA
|Trevor Lewis Interference against Nick Bonino|
|Devante Smith-Pelly Roughing against Justin Williams|
|Justin Williams Roughing against Devante Smith-Pelly|
|Devante Smith-Pelly Hi-sticking against Alec Martinez|
|Francois Beauchemin Interference against Tanner Pearson|
|Tyler Toffoli Holding against Francois Beauchemin|
|Drew Doughty Hooking against Corey Perry|