By Adam Brady
|Rakell scored the only Ducks goal on the night, flipping in a rebound in the first period.
Ducks fans clearly craving the return of hockey -- any hockey -- poured into Honda Center to see Anaheim prospects take on a team of Kings youngsters in tonight's So Cal Hockey Futures Game.
A crowd of more than 7,500 saw the Kings roll to a 6-1 victory on the strength of two goals apiece from wingers Tanner Pearson and Andy Andreoff.
Game tickets and parking were free to all fans, many of whom lined up outside Honda Center well before game time to secure the best seats.
Ducks 2011 first round pick Rickard Rakell opened the scoring 9:44 into the game, as the 20-year-old lifted in a rebound that leaked just in front of Kings goalie J.F. Beruba.
"We had a good play in the neutral zone, Emmer [Emerson Etem] did a good move in the corner, and Stevie [Steven Whitney] shot it on net," Rakell said. "I just found the puck and it bounced right in front of me and the net was wide open.
"I thought I had some good shifts, but I’m not happy with how the whole game played out. I think I have more to prove."
The Kings came roaring back after Rakell's goal, starting with the first of two Andy Andreoff goals with 6:19 left in the first, a wrist shot from the slot that beat Ducks netminder Frederik Andersen. Andreoff was taken in the third round of the 2011 draft by LA.
Pearson (taken by LA with the 30th pick of the 2012 draft) gave the Kings a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal four minutes into the second, deflecting a shot past Andersen.
Andersen (taken by Anaheim in the third round of the 2012 draft) had 25 saves on the night. "Personally, I thought it was nice getting some game action again," he said. "It’s been a long summer and everyone has worked hard to get back on the ice. The positive is we came out pretty good in the first period, and then I felt like we took our foot off the gas a little bit. They got the initiative and that’s what happened towards the end of the game, too."
The young Kings all but put the game away with two early ones in the third. Just a half-minute into the period, Nicolas Deslauriers gave the Kings a two-goal lead with a shot that trickled through the pads of new Ducks goalie Igor Bobkov and just over the goal line.
Pearson tallied his second of the game soon afterward, beating Bobkov through the pads from the left circle.
With 4:19 left in the third, Andreoff picked off an errant pass and beat Bobkov from the slot to make it 5-1 Kings. LA added a sixth goal with 2:43 left, as Colin Miller took advantage of a lucky bounce off the glass and whipped it home.
The Ducks did get a small victory after the game, edging the Kings in a prearranged shootout as Devante Smith-Pelly has the only goal with a nice backhander top shelf.
"I thought it was pretty fast, coming from the Western [Hockey] League," said Ducks defenseman Shea Theodore, taken in the first round of last June's draft. "It was a pretty good pace, but I felt like I held up pretty well. It was good to get those first few shifts out of the way and get the flow of the game going."
Said Rakell about the crowd: "It was really fun to see. Even though L.A. scored a couple goals, they were still loud and cheered us on."
The Ducks and Kings prospects will face off again two nights from now at the Kings' practice facility, the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo (6 p.m. start).
"A lot of these kids never played a pro game. To see them in front of 7,000 people, I thought it was a great experience for them," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, who wasn't on the bench for the game as the team was led by the staff of AHL affiliate Norfolk. "It’s the first game for a lot of them putting a Ducks jersey on. Sometimes you practice and you think you’re doing well, and you realize the bar has got to be raised higher. They’ll be better the next game."