LOS ANGELES -- Even though the Ducks and Kings aren't jostling for playoff spots this time around, tonight's game certainly didn't lack the emotion and energy that's become trademarks whenever these teams meet. In the end, the Ducks came up just short in a 4-3 shootout loss to their crosstown rivals on Saturday night at Staples Center.
The highlight of the night belonged to Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, who scored one of the most impressive goals all season. With the Ducks down 2-1 in the closing seconds of the second period, Rakell managed to lift the puck into the air on his backhand and bat it top shelf with his forehand. It came with just one second left on the clock, and left the sold-out crowd of 18,230 (with a strong Ducks presence) in awe.
Video: ANA@LAK: Rakell bats puck out of air for crafty PPG
After the game, Rakell was asked if it was a move he's practiced before. "Of course. I practice it every day," he jokingly told reporters. "I knew there wasn't much time left. I tried to get a quick shot off, but the puck didn't stay on the ice. I tried to bat it out of the air. It was nice to see it go in."
At the time, his goal made it a 2-2 game after LA scored two unanswered goals from Kyle Clifford and Jeff Carter. The Kings' response came after the Ducks opened the scoring when Cam Fowler sent a seeing-eye wrist shot over Jonathan Quick's shoulder just 3:47 into the game.
Video: ANA@LAK: Fowler wrists one from the point
The Ducks took a 3-2 lead when Carter Rowney skated in on Quick for a shorthanded goal at the 9:42 mark of the third period - a lead that stood until rookie Carl Grundstrom scored the equalizer with just 3:53 remaining in regulation.
Video: ANA@LAK: Rowney pots Grant's great pass for SHG
A gridlocked game eventually went to overtime, where both teams had several chances to end it in sudden death. Ducks goaltender Ryan Miller turned in a poised 27-save performance in the Ducks' second game in as many nights. (They defeated the San Jose Sharks, 4-3, in overtime at Honda Center last night).
Anze Kopitar scored the lone goal in the shootout with a Peter Forsberg-style deke to lift the Kings to their second straight victory. "He did it the other direction two years ago," Miller said in his postgame interview. It's not impossible. I should know better, honestly. I just didn't want him to get ahead of me on the blocker side. The last three or four shootouts he's had he's shot, so obviously he changed it up."
The Ducks will continue their four-game road trip on Tuesday in Vancouver and conclude their regular-season schedule on April 5 vs. LA at Honda Center.