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Kings nab division lead in 2-1 win over Anaheim

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES – In a showcase that featured a pair of cross-town rivals tussling for first-place in their division, the Kings came out victorious in a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks Monday night at STAPLES Center.

The Kings strung together consecutive wins for the first time since March 19 and beat the Ducks on home ice for the first time all season, earning just their second regulation win against the Anaheim in teams’ past 15 regular season meetings.

“They’re a really good team who have kind of owned us so far this year throughout the regular season,” said Drew Doughty. “So we were really determined tonight, and it was a pretty important game.”

The win secured sole-possesion of first place in the Pacific division for the Kings, and with a win Saturday over Winnipeg, they can guarantee their first division title since 1991, and just the second one in franchise history.

Anaheim grabbed a 1-0 lead with just under four minutes to play in the first period when Ryan Kesler received a pass from Jakob Slfverberg, firing a one-time shot past Jonathan Quick.

The Kings were quick to erase the deficit 28 seconds into the second period when Milan Lucic chipped home a backhand shot past John Gibson after Tanner Pearson disrupted Anaheim’s defense to set up the play.

Moments later, Kris Versteeg gave the Kings a 2-1 lead when he tipped a Brayden McNabb shot up and over Gibson that caromed off the cross-bar, which he followed through on and tapped into the net.

The Kings would maintain that lead in a tightly-played contest, winning by a final score of 2-1.

Jonathan Quick earned his 40th win of the season, becoming the first Kings goalie to win that many games in a single season, breaking the franchise mark of 39 that he set during the 2009-’10 campaign.

Six different players led the Kings in points scored, Drew Doughty in shots taken (5), Brayden McNabb in hits delivered (5), Rob Scuderi in shots blocked (5), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (30:02). Jonathan Quick made 19 saves in the win.

The Kings will play their regular season finale Thursday night when they host the Winnipeg Jets at STAPLES Center, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 7:00 PM PST.

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