ANAHEIM - A point against the rival Kings in the regular season finale was all the Ducks needed tonight for a fifth straight Pacific Division crown, and a win in overtime was just icing on the cake.
Shea Theodore buried a wrist shot on the breakaway just 53 seconds into the 3-on-3 session to give the Ducks a 4-3 victory over the Kings, whose season ended at Honda Center tonight.
Video: LAK@ANA: Theodore rings in OT winner off the post
"I knew to just shoot the puck," said Theodore, "and hope for the best."
The Ducks tied the game with 8:26 left on a fortunate deflection off the stick of Nate Thompson, who redirected a Brandon Montour pass and watched it trickle over the stripe past sprawled goalie Jonathan Quick. It was the first of the season for Thompson, who missed several months with a torn Achilles.
Video: LAK@ANA: Thompson tips in first goal of the season
When the game ultimately went to overtime still tied 3-3, the Ducks clinched the Pacific and a First Round date with Calgary in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Ducks are the seventh different team in NHL history to win five consecutive division titles, joining the Colorado/Quebec franchise (9 straight from 1995-03), Montreal (8 from 1975-82), Detroit (8 from 2001-09), Edmonton (6 from 1982-87), Dallas (5 from 1997-01) and Vancouver (5 from 2009-13). Anaheim is also the only team to win the Pacific Division five consecutive years since its creation in 1993-94.
"This was a weird game," said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf. "Games against the Kings are usually at a high intensity, but tonight was toe in, toe out. We had something to play for, but they did not. Our guys stuck with it and got a big goal from Thommer [Thompson], got the point and went on to win the division like we wanted to."
The Ducks won the division after falling nine points back of first place on three separate occasions this season, most recently being nine points behind San Jose on March 15 (91 San Jose points to 82 Anaheim points).
"We went through a lot of ups and down this year," Getzlaf said. "A lot of different things. We grew as a group as we went along. That was a good sign. The second half of the year we did a lot better job with our composure. We built towards this."
Anaheim enters next week's start of the postseason on a roll, with tonight's win giving them points in 14 straight games, a gaudy 11-0-3 over that stretch. That's the longest active streak in the NHL.
The Kings were eliminated from playoff contention several days ago, but tonight was significant for more than just the chance to play spoilers. It also marked the final game for longtime Kings TV play-by-play announcer and broadcasting legend Bob Miller. He was honored in the arena and on social media with a tribute video during the first timeout and his booth from tonight's game was decorated with images honoring his decorated career.
The Ducks struck first just 27 seconds into the game, off a Drew Doughty turnover, as Patrick Eaves sniped a shot from the right wing for his 11th goal in 20 games since joining the Ducks. Eaves would later leave the game with an undisclosed injury and did not return, but Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said, "I saw him after the game and he looked fine."
Video: LAK@ANA: Eaves snipes early top-shelf tally
Doughty got retribution with 8:40 left in the period on a power play, hammering a slap shot that got the help of a Dustin Brown screen. The Ducks challenged for goalie interference, but the call on the ice stood.
With 3:42 left in the period, Andrew Cogliano's backhand poke off a rebound appeared to be miraculously saved by a diving Jonathan Quick, but replay review showed the puck may have crossed the stripe in mid-air. Nevertheless, officials held up the call on the ice of no goal.
The Ducks took advantage of a Kings too many men penalty halfway through the second, as Getzlaf sent the puck into the crease crom behind the net, and Antoine Vermette punched it home.
Video: LAK@ANA: Vermette buries a loose puck for PPG
LA got even again with four minutes left in the period on a tip-in by Kyle Clifford off a Kevin Gravel shot.
The Kings took their first lead with 12 minutes left on a tip-in goal by Brown assisted by Jarome Iginla, the 1,300th point of his prolific 20-year career in what some have speculated may be his last NHL game.
But Anaheim wiped that out not long afterward, and rookie Theodore's second goal of the season put the capper on it.
"It was exciting. It is what it is," Cogliano said. "We've won a few here and we don't get too excited anymore. We've come back a long way. We deserve where we are. We wanted to win to finish the season on the right note. That is what is came down to."
The schedule for the First Round will be released by the NHL later tonight.
"You have to credit our players with their commitment," said Carlyle, who took over the helm of the Ducks prior to this season, his second stint with the team. "These aren't easy things to do. You start out in September with a plan. In the end, we found a way to achieve it. But that's only one part of it. The most important games are coming."