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Kings fall to Ducks in shootout

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

Anze Kopitar’s third period magic wasn’t quite enough.

Tying the game twice late, Kopitar’s third period offensive onslaught couldn’t hurdle the Kings over Anaheim Saturday night in their final regular season game of the year, falling 4-3 in a shootout at STAPLES Center.

Dustin Brown got the Kings on the board early, hopping on a loose puck just inside Anaheim’s zone, and walked in alone on Anaheim’s Frederik Andersen, beating the Ducks’ goaltender through the five-hole to give the Kings a 1-0 lead 4:43 into the contest.

The Ducks answered less than two minutes later, as Nick Bonino snuck a no-look backhand shot past Jonathan Quick to knot the score 1-1 6:14 into the game.

The Kings held the Ducks to just five shots during the second period, but Anaheim was the only club to find the net in the middle frame, as Devante Smith-Pelly tipped home a Hampus Lindholm shot to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead.

Entering the third period facing a deficit, the Kings were quick to even the score with Anze Kopitar’s sleek wraparound goal :48 seconds into the final frame to tie the score at two.

The score remained tied until the final five minutes of regulation until Anaheim’s Matt Beleskey snuck around Jake Muzzin and fired a shot past Jonathan Quick’s blocker side to give the Ducks a 3-2 lead with 4:47 left on the clock.

Anze Kopitar, who tied the game once, tied the game twice.

With 3:12 to play, Kopitar stunned Ryan Getzlaf and Anaheim’s defensive corps with a gorgeous toe-drag move, earning him all the time and space in the world to fire a snap shot past Frederik Andersen to tie the game at three.

The game would extend to overtime, but a shootout was needed to decide the affair.

The Kings were unable to execute on any of their four breakaway attempts, and Anaheim’s Devante Smith-Pelly, who scored the second goal of the night for the Ducks, sealed the deal beating Jonathan Quick in the fourth round of the shootout.

It was the Kings’ 14th shootout of the season; they ended the year with a 8-6 record in breakaway contests.

The Kings finished the regular season with a 46-28-8 record.

With 46 wins, the Kings tied their single season club record. With one point earned Saturday, the Kings reached the 100-point mark for the fourth time in franchise history: 1974-’75 (105 PTS), 1990-’91 (102 PTS), 2009-’10 (101 PTS).

The Kings allowed the fewest goals (168) in club history this season, the 2011-’12 roster allowed 170. With such stalwart play in and in front of their net, the Kings have clinched a tie for the NHL’s Jennings Trophy. The results of the Boston Bruins game Sunday will decide whether or not Jonathan Quick and the Kings are awarded the trophy.

Anze Kopitar, with two goals Saturday, passed Jeff Carter for the team lead in goals, finishing the season leading the Kings in goals, assists, and points (29G, 41A = 70PTS).

The Kings sold out all 40 of their games at STAPLES Center this season, extending their consecutive sellout streak to 108 games at the corner of Figueroa St. and Chick Hearn Blvd.

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