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The Key Three: Dec. 22

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Three key aspects of the Kings’ 3-2 shootout victory over the Anaheim Ducks...

1. Effective penalty killers
There were two points in the game in which the Ducks could have made a huge impact on the power play. The Kings brought a lot of energy to the start of the game, and things were going their way until the Ducks went on a power play at the seven-minute mark. With a chance to deflate the Kings, though, the Ducks accomplished little. Then, they had a golden opportunity in overtime, when Drew Doughty was called for holding. The Ducks threatened, and had a couple excellent scoring chances, but the skaters and goalie Jonathan Quick held firm, and the Kings were able to earn the extra point in the shootout.

2. Captain leads the way
Just as he did in the shootout victory over Toronto on Monday, captain Dustin Brown did a little bit of everything in the victory. Brown came out skating harder than ever seen in recent memory, and hit almost anything he could reach. Brown got rewarded. He scored a huge go-ahead goal in the third period, then scored the shootout winner in the third round, just as he did in Toronto. Brown finished with team-highs of five shots on goal and six hits. With coach Darryl Sutter making his debut, the Kings needed their designated leaders to set the tone, both on the ice and emotionally, and that’s what Brown did.

3. Energy at the start
In contrast to the stoic Terry Murray, Sutter looked as though he burned about 500 calories during the first period. He paced back and forth behind the bench and, frequently, stepped onto it to get a better look at the far side of the ice. Did the Kings feed off Sutter’s energy and intensity. One could make that argument, as the Kings came out strong and took the game to the Ducks in the opening minutes of the first period. The goals didn’t come early, and really, there weren’t a lot of quality scoring chances, but the Kings seemed to play with emotion and confidence, and they were the aggressors from the first puck drop.
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