LOS ANGELES – The finisher that the Los Angeles Kings
longed for officially arrived.
was brought in specifically for scoring, and after three pointless games with his new team he broke out with two goals as the Kings put another dent in Anaheim's postseason drive with a 4-2 victory on Saturday night at Staples Center.
Acquired from Columbus on Feb. 23, Carter scored twice in the second period and captain Dustin Brown
continued his tear with his fifth goal in four games.
L.A. pulled to one point behind Dallas for eighth in the Western Conference. The Kings went 2 for 4 on the power play and got 29 saves from Jonathan Quick
to win despite being outshot 31-20.
"I knew the situation the team was in when I came in," Carter said. "It's a battle right now. Every game is a huge two points. Especially tonight. It's definitely nice to come in and get a couple and help the team win."
Anaheim suffered its third regulation loss in four games as its postseason outlook gets increasingly grim. The Ducks have only 16 more games to pass four teams.
Carter lifted home a loose puck for his first goal as a King at 2:39 for a second period power play goal. He extended L.A.'s lead to 3-1 with a wrist shot that beat Jonas Hiller
from the slot at 13:53. He skated to the bench with a big grin after his first goal as the home crowd seemed to exhale with him.
"A little weight off the shoulders," Carter said. "It's always nice when that first one goes in. You feel a lot better about your game. With me, when I get one I get a little confidence and get rolling. It's good."
Carter had five of L.A.'s 20 shots. The second line of Carter, Mike Richards
and Dwight King
combined for two goals and five assists as Richards had three assists and the Kings demonstrated a new dynamic.
"I think it helped our confidence offensively," Brown said. "We can throw line after line out there that can score goals … it can make it doubly hard for an opposing team. They can't just key on the centermen or (Anze Kopitar
's) line. For a while there they were keying on Kopi and trying to shut Kopi down.
"Now that we have Carter here -- him and Richie have some chemistry – they're going to have to pick and choose."
Anaheim scratched out a win in the final minute against Calgary on Friday but was done in by special teams and another poor start. The Ducks went 0 for 4 on the power play and allowed the first goal for the seventh straight game and the 10th time in the past 11.
"We got a bad start – the first 20 and 30 minutes were not very well," defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky
said in a utterly silent and down Anaheim locker room.
"This is a very tough time for us and we need more wins."
Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau didn't hold back regarding those four L.A. power plays.
"Our special teams were horrible," Boudreau said. "We can't kill a penalty and we can't score a goal on the power play. That being said, they were some of the worst calls that I've seen in a long time. In a game of this importance, we can't have officiating making calls like that. There were three penalties that weren't penalties I know of that we took.
"If we are busting our (rear end) all night long and playing our fifth game in seven nights, we needed better from them. I don't know what their schedule is, but if it's four nights in a row or what have you we can't have that. It's just bad calls."
This was the first meeting of the local rivals since L.A. acquired Carter, and the Ducks can see the difference.
"He's one of the top pure goal-scorers in the League and him and Richards obviously have some chemistry together," defenseman Cam Fowler
said. "He's just another weapon that you have to look out for when he's on the ice. We didn't do a good enough job of keeping them intact tonight. He had two big goals and both ended up costing us in the end."
Anaheim responded 13 seconds after Carter's second goal with a No. 77 of its own, rookie Devante Smith-Pelly
, whose rather innocent-looking wrist shot from the right circle slipped five-hole through Quick.
But the Ducks couldn't rally against an L.A. team that improved to 80-0-6 in its past 86 games when leading after two periods.
"A strong defensive like them, they do a good job of getting in shot lanes and they're probably one of the better teams at protecting a one-goal lead," Fowler said. "They got a goalie that made some big saves for them and they did a good job of boxing out front."
The Ducks got out of the first period tied at 1-1 on another unlikely goal by depth defenseman Sheldon Brookbank
, who floated a wrist shot from the right point for his third goal in nine games after he ended a 167-game goal drought on Feb.17. Teemu Selanne
started the play with the offensive zone faceoff win/
Brown got L.A. going on a first period power play. He chipped in a loose puck from the left side for his 19th goal after Alec Martinez
let loose a shot from the point.
Anaheim's Jonas Hiller
made 16 saves as he extended his franchise-record consecutive starts streak to 25 games.