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Stoll's gold; Kings slide by Ducks in OT

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

– A late comeback fueled the Kings to an overtime victory Saturday afternoon as they beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 at STAPLES Center.

The Kings, who surrendered three separate two-goal leads to the Ducks Wednesday night, played a much more disciplined, focused game, landing 50 hits on the afternoon, and firing away for 37 shots.

Coming off of a shutout loss to the Dallas Stars Thursday, the two points here huge for the Kings to pocket.

“In any division game grabbing points is huge,” Tyler Toffoli said following the win. “I think we needed to come back and have a big effort. Unfortunately they got [a point] but we got the extra one and that’s what matters.”

In an effort to not allow Anaheim to control the pace of the game like they did Wednesday, the Kings came out in a brute, physical fashion, using the body to slow down the Ducks’ efforts in the first period.

Dustin Brown led the way with 11 hits on the day.

After a scoreless first period, Anaheim got on the board first when Emerson Etem chipped in his own rebound past a sprawling Jonathan Quick. Etem’s goal gave Anaheim a 1-0 lead with just over 11 minutes to play in the second.

The Ducks came into the game holding an 8-0-2 record when registering the first goal of a contest.

During the Kings’ second minor penalty of the night, a delay of game call against Matt Greene, Tyler Toffoli struck to tie the game. On a rare shorthanded two-on-one sequence with Jarret Stoll, Toffoli gave a quick glance to see his passing lane, but opted to shoot instead, beating Frederik Andersen low to the blocker side with a quick snap shot.

Toffoli’s goal was his eighth of the season, and his fourth shorthanded. Toffoli is the fastest NHL player to record four shorthanded goals in a single season since Simon Gagne did so in 15 games with the 2008’-’09 Philadelphia Flyers. Toffoli has done so in 18 games.

Toffoli’s shorthander drove him past Bernie Nicholls’ franchise record, where he notched four shorthanded goals in a 25-game span during the 1988-’89 campaign.

The Ducks reclaimed the lead with just over a minute to play in the second, when Ryan Kesler found himself alone on the back-door and roofed a shot past Quick. Kesler’s goal gave Anaheim a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.

On their second power play of the evening midway through the third, Anze Kopitar buried a one-timer to the top left corner past Frederik Andersen to tie the game at two.

Kopitar’s equalizer cracked the Kings’ power play woes; it was the club’s first man-advantage goal in their last 19 opportunities.

The game extended to overtime, the sixth time the Kings have played past regulation this season. For the Ducks, it was their fifth straight game to go into overtime, their seventh of the season.

Just :23 seconds into overtime, Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm was penalized for a holding infraction on Anze Kopitar. After the Kings’ first power play unit failed to execute, the second unit came on to put a cap on the contest.

Justin Williams entered Anaheim’s zone along the left boards as Jarret Stoll drove hard to the net. Williams, who was running out of time and space, touched a quick pass to Stoll, who tipped the puck through the legs of Frederik Andersen to secure a 3-2 win for the Kings.

Stoll’s game-winner was his first goal of the season; and with his assist on Tyler Toffoli’s shorthanded goal earlier in the game, Stoll now has 200 points (76G, 124A) in a Kings uniform.

“Today, we came out and we were physical and we were getting pucks in deep,” Jarret Stoll noted following the game. “There were points where we needed to be a little better, but Quick came up big when we needed him to. We had some big penalty kills and a big power play goal in the third.”

The Kings shut down all three of Anaheim’s power play opportunities during the afternoon; they’re now 8-1-2 this season with a perfect penalty kill.

Jake Muzzin and Jarret Stoll led all Kings players in points (2), Tyler Toffoli in shots taken (7), Dustin Brown in hits delivered (11), Matt Greene in blocked shots (3), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (32:21). Jonathan Quick made 27 saves in the win.

With the win, the Kings’ record improves to 9-5-4. They have two games left on their current four-game home stand. They’ll have two days off before returning to host the Florida Panthers at STAPLES Center on Tuesday night. The puck is slated to drop at 7:30PM PT.

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