LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings took the long way around to securing two points against their biggest rival, but it was two points nonetheless.
Justin Williams scored in the seventh round of a shootout to lift the Los Angeles to a 2-1 victory against their crosstown counterpart, the Anaheim Ducks, on Wednesday night.
Williams beat Jonas Hiller with a high wrist shot, and Jonathan Quick ended the game by denying Cam Fowler's wrister with his blocker.
L.A. dominated the first 40 minutes and got six power plays on the night, but Anaheim tied the game with 2:25 left in regulation when Teemu Selanne's wrist shot appeared to hit Corey Perry's leg and trickle into the net with Williams in the penalty box for tripping Fowler in Anaheim's zone.
The Kings weren't exactly thrilled with their path to victory in the first game of a home-and-home series against the Ducks that resumes Thursday in Anaheim.
"We did get the two, which is huge, but at the same time, we let them get a point out of it," Quick said.
"A game like that, we outplay them like that, that should be a game where they don't get any points. I'm sure over there … I'm sure they're happy with getting that point. Especially a division rival like them, you know they're going to be right in the hunt with us, and we want to not allow them to get any points."
Selanne's goal came about three minutes after an apparent goal by Ryan Getzlaf was disallowed because Getzlaf was ruled to have directed the puck into the net with his hand.
The Kings were trying to hold onto the lead they took on Mike Richards' 5-on-3 power play goal at 7:38 of the second period. Richards took the carom of Jack Johnson's shot off the end boards and slammed it past Hiller, who had no chance.
L.A. won back-to-back games for the first time since Oct. 20-22. The win was just the third in nine games for L.A., but Kings coach Terry Murray didn't mind taking the hard way to two points.
"Frustration is good," Murray said. "If you're getting 37 shots, you get 30 shots after two periods and you're getting frustrated because you're not scoring. That's okay. That means you're doing a lot of good things to get frustrated about. That means you're getting pucks to the net."
Williams found it difficult enjoy the victory, even after he made up for his penalty with the game-winner.
"We kept saying, ‘We couldn't let them hang around, we couldn't let them hang around,' and we ended up letting them hang around," Williams said.
"We couldn't get that second goal past Hiller … It's tough giving up a point to a division opponent but we did it. Hiller made a lot of great stops, but when we get ahead we need to put teams away."
The Ducks got one point but continue to struggle. They have just two wins in their past 13 games and were held to two or fewer goals for the 12th time in 18 games this season.
But Anaheim made some strides.
"You've got to celebrate the little victories," forward Bobby Ryan said. "I thought we did a good job taking pucks to the net, especially in the third. We turned our game on and got going in the right direction.
"We were rewarded for it. I don't know if you want to call it a fluky goal, but a goal that probably is going to be saves most of the time."
L.A. dominated the first two periods and had plenty of scoring opportunities but got only the goal by Richards. That the Kings led only 1-0 through two periods was entirely due to Hiller, who made 28 saves to keep the Ducks in the game despite being outshot 29-12.
Quick finished with 23 saves.
"Quick was just standing on his head and really just sucking pucks in, not allowing any kind of rebounds and chances for us all game," Ryan said.
"Sometimes it takes throwing it on net and getting a body in front. It happens."
The Kings had four power plays in the second period alone and converted on the 5-on-3 advantage they received because of tripping penalties 17 seconds apart by Andrew Gordon and Maxime Macenauer – Macenauer pulled down Drew Doughty when they were about 180 feet from Anaheim's goal.
Los Angeles had Anaheim on its heels in the first period with a 17-5 shot advantage but couldn't score on two power plays.
Hiller made a great kick save on Andrei Loktionov, and Dustin Brown had his rebound attempt from the crease hit the crossbar and glance off the right post.