A point in the standings is what the Kings needed to remain in a playoff spot Wednesday night, and that’s what they got in their 3-2 OT loss to the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.
In what was an extremely physical, tightly played affair, the growing hatred between these two cross-town clubs showed itself in a riveting contest that needed overtime for a decision.
Between the two clubs, 64 hits were laid, and 28 shots were blocked – nothing came easy to either the Kings or Ducks on Wednesday evening.
Although being outshot 11-6 in the first period, the Kings were first to get on the scoreboard, thanks to Jeff Carter’s team-leading 25th goal of the season on the Kings’ first power play of the night.
Drew Doughty gave the play legs when he fed a pass to Anze Kopitar, who was streaking through the neutral zone. Upon entering Anaheim’s zone, Kopitar touched a drop-pass to Jeff Carter, who one-time a shot that ricochet off of a Ducks defenseman’s stick and past John Gibson.
The game didn’t open up in the second period, as the teams combined for 13 shots, with no changes on the scoreboard.
The Kings carried a 1-0 lead into the third, but were facing an Anaheim Ducks team that has been notoriously scary in the final frame of contests this season. Anaheim didn’t waver from their third period success Wednesday night, scoring two goals in the first seven minutes of the third to take a 2-1 lead.
Patrick Maroon tied the game 45 seconds into the third, and Jakob Silfverberg put the Ducks on top 2-1 with 12:25 left to play in regulation.
As the Kings’ hounded Anaheim’s zone with a heavy forecheck with just under five minutes to play, Jake Muzzin found Justin Williams with a pass from behind John Gibson’s net. Williams, upon receiving the pass, quickly pulled the puck to his forehand and tucked the puck under Gibson’s left pad to tie the game 2-2 with 4:14 to play.
45 seconds into overtime, Ryan Kesler circled around the Kings’ zone freely and fired a wrist-shot high past Jonathan Quick’s glove side. Kesler, who wasn’t picked up, had time and space aplenty to pick his spot from a comfortable location.
The Kings finished their regular season series against Anaheim with a 1-1-3 record, earning five of a possible 10 points in those meetings.
With one point earned Wednesday night, the Kings remain in a playoff spot, holding onto third place in the Pacific Division with 82 points. The Kings are only two points behind the Vancouver Canucks for second place, but the Calgary Flames are hot on the Kings’ tail – just one point behind with 81.
Six different players recorded a point for the Kings, Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar led all Kings players in shots taken (4), Robyn Regehr in hits delivered (5), Matt Greene and Robyn Regehr in hits delivered (3), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (29:56). Jonathan Quick made 23 saves in the OT loss.
With the OT loss, the Kings’ record drops to 34-22-14; their mark on the road away from STAPLES Center falls to 12-14-7. The Kings return home on Saturday for one game at home before venturing out on a five-game road trip. The Kings will host the Vancouver Canucks Saturday afternoon at STAPLES Center; the puck is slated to drop just after 1:00PM PT.