LOS ANGELES -- What a difference a day can make. Roughly 24 hours after suffering a tough loss on home ice, the Ducks responded with a 3-1 victory over the rival LA Kings at Staples Center on Saturday night. They started fast and never looked back, earning their fourth win in their last six games (4-2-0) in front of a strong showing of Ducks fans among the 18,230 in attendance.
It capped off the third annual Hockey Day SoCal, which delivered over eight hours of continuous hockey themed programming on FOX Sports West, Prime Ticket and FOX Sports San Diego.
Max Jones got things going just 5:43 into the game. Derek Grant doubled the lead 2:23 into the middle frame and Jacob Larsson provided a bit of breathing room less than five minutes later to give the Ducks a healthy three-goal lead. Making his 13th start of the season, Ryan Miller turned in a gem of a performance, stopping a season-high 46 shots to improve his record to 6-5-2. The 39-year-old is now just one win shy from tying Mike Vernon (385) for 15th place on the NHL's all-time wins list for goaltenders.
"I'm feeling it right now. A little tired," said Miller, who last played Jan. 17 at Carolina (2-1 OTW). "It felt good to get in there and see some pucks. This was a game I was striving for, for a while. It was rewarding to feel that way. We got a jump on the offense on a back-to-back. It's always good to get on that side of things in the first half of the game. We got a little tired towards the end, and they had a little extra energy."
While Jones' goal itself was impressive (chipping the puck on his backhand over Jonathan Quick's pad), the pass from Sam Steel was a thing of beauty. The young center acted like he was going to carry the puck behind the net, but before he got halfway he used a nifty spin pass to find Jones alone at the right post. It marked Jones' sixth goal of the season, and his first since Jan. 11 at Chicago.
Video: ANA@LAK: Jones lifts backhander past Quick
The Ducks doubled their lead when Grant deflected Cam Fowler's point shot past Quick for his 11th goal of the season. The big center managed to get a piece of the shot with one hand on his stick and the other hand fending off Kings forward Trevor Lewis.
Video: ANA@LAK: Grant tips-in the shot from Fowler
"We did a good job closing off the middle and collapsing in tight to eliminate some of those second and third opportunities," said Grant. "The one that squeaked through at the whistle, I'm sure Millsy wishes he had that, but he stopped . He was great for us. We did a good job in front of him, as well."
Anaheim's lead grew to 3-0 when Larsson hammered a one-timer from the left point past Quick less than five minutes later. It marked the 22-year-old blueliner's second career goal.
Video: ANA@LAK: Larsson cranks one-time blast into twine
The only one that got past Miller came with 2:39 remaining in the second period when Tyler Toffoli's slap shot from the right dot snuck behind him before trickling across the stripe.
Tomorrow, the Ducks will head to Ottawa to continue their five-game road trip. They'll face the Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday (4:30 p.m. PT).