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Ducks Can't Hold Early Lead, Fall 6-3 to Kings

by Matt Weller @MattWeller_ / AnaheimDucks.com

The Ducks could not hold on to an early lead, falling 6-3 to the Los Angeles Kings tonight at Honda Center.

NHL GAMECENTER | PHOTO GALLERY

Nicolas Deslauriers, Jakob Silfveberg and Rickard Rakell scored for Anaheim. Anthony Stolarz made 23 saves in his second preseason start. 

Arthur Kaliyev posted a hat trick to lead the Kings' attack while netminder Cal Peterson turned aside 39-of-42 Anaheim shots.

The Ducks dominated the opening period, racing out to an early lead before the Kings recorded a shot on goal.

Deslauriers opened the scoring, converting a rebound opportunity after a hard-working shift from Sam Carrick and Bo Groulx. Carrick got the puck to the front of the net, taking a sharp angle shot that bounced directly to Deslauriers to put Anaheim up 1-0 just 2:32 after the opening faceoff.

The Ducks went back to the front of the net on the next shift to double the lead. After Cam Fowler directed a long shot through traffic, Silfverberg hustled to the crease, beating a Kings defender to the loose puck and slipping it by Peterson to give the Ducks a two-goal edge before five minutes had gone by in regulation.

Rakell pushed the lead to three with a highlight reel worthy goal. As a bouncing puck came towards Trevor Zegras in the Ducks' offensive zone, the young forward knocked it back to Rakell trailing the play. Rakell made quick work of it, batting the puck out of mid-air just underneath the crossbar and past Peterson to put Anaheim ahead 3-0 with 7:30 still to play in the first period.

The Kings refused to go away, though, and started cutting into Anaheim's lead late in the first period. With both teams changing players behind the play, Austin Wagner raced into the Ducks' zone and beat Stolarz with a quick shot just inside the post, trimming the Ducks' edge to 3-1 with exactly a minute left in the opening frame.

Kaliyev scored twice in the middle frame to bring the visitors all the way back. The 2019 second-round pick was a beneficiary of some hard luck for Stolarz on his first goal as a skate malfunction led to an empty net for the Kings rookie forward. With Los Angeles attacking near the Ducks' goal, the steel in Stolarz's skate separated from the boot, preventing the goaltender from sliding back into his net. Stuck in no-man's land outside of his crease, Stolarz could only watch as Kaliyev tipped a point shot into the empty cage, pulling the Kings within a goal.

Kaliyev added a power-play tally late in the period to tie the score, blasting home a one-timer for his second goal of the night. Kaliyev notched his first career goal in his NHL debut last season against Anaheim. 

The Kings took the lead in the third period on another power-play goal. As Simon Benoit served a boarding minor penalty, a rebound bounced out to Alex Turcotte in the right faceoff circle, who beat Stolarz with a wrist shot to give Los Angeles its first lead of the night.

Anaheim went on the attack for the rest of the third period, carrying the play offensively and, in total, directing a preseason-best 40 shots on net, but could not solve Peterson for a fourth time. Blake Lizotte buried an insurance tally with two minutes to play in regulation and Kaliyev added an empty-netter sealing his hat trick and the Kings' 6-3 win. 

The Ducks will conclude the 2021 preseason Saturday, Oct. 9 against the Kings at Staples Center (7:30 p.m.).

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