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Ducks hold on to beat Kings

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELES -- The fourth of the five-game series between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings was missing several marquee names. Goalies Jonas Hiller and Jonathan Quick did not play, nor did Teemu Selanne or Dustin Brown.

So it was fitting that the Ducks' grinders did the job in a nasty, gritty rivalry game. Fourth-liners Patrick Maroon and Tim Jackman provided the goals to give Anaheim a 2-1 victory Saturday night at Staples Center.

Anaheim, which beat the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night, swept a challenging back-to-back sequence and gained some traction following a 4-6-2 stretch after the 2014 NHL Coors Light Stadium Series game against the Kings on Jan. 25.

The Ducks (45-16-7) moved two points ahead of the San Jose Sharks in the race for first place in the Pacific Division. Each team has 14 games remaining.

"It was a lot of grit by everybody," Jackman said. "For us to go into Colorado last night and play a great game and then follow it up tonight with the emotional effort that the guys showed tonight was incredible. It was a great win for us."

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau walked over to Jackman in the dressing room and gave him a pat on the arm. Earlier in the week the Ducks hit rock bottom in a 7-2 road loss to the Calgary Flames, and Boudreau was naturally pleased with the response.

"It was tough Thursday," Boudreau said. "We were searching for a couple of answers, and we knew we were better than what we showed in the previous three games, and I thought we played a more solid game on Friday, then we came back and did even better today."

It was Boudreau's first win in Los Angeles as Ducks coach. At the other end, Kings coach Darryl Sutter was denied his 500th career win for the second straight game.

Los Angeles put 38 shots on rookie goaltender Frederik Andersen but lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time since Feb.1-3. The Kings (38-24-6) are third in the Pacific and appear fated to play the division runner-up in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We struggled in some areas making little plays and have to try to get more quality chances," forward Marian Gaborik said.

The bad feelings between the teams got into full swing when Kings forward Jeff Carter rubbed out Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin along the boards in the first period. Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr hit Anaheim star Corey Perry after the buzzer sounded to end the second period, during which there were scrums after almost every whistle.

The sellout crowd of 18,228 was incensed and Sutter fumed after Anze Kopitar's apparent tying goal off the crossbar with 6:23 left was waved off because of incidental contact with Andersen by Gaborik.

"They called it that I touched the goalie before the puck went in, but I don't know," Gaborik said. "I haven't seen the replay, but it is what it is."

Sutter was just as unhappy with his team's play at both ends of the ice.

"We played against a top team in the conference and [we] only [scored] one goal and [gave] up two easy ones," Sutter said. "We got beat out of the corner and we got beat at the top of the circles."

Anaheim's Hiller and Los Angeles' Quick were resting and ill, respectively, although Quick backed up Martin Jones. The Ducks also rested Selanne and sat defenseman Cam Fowler with a lower-body injury. Brown was also out with an illness.

But Anaheim's role players came through. Maroon banked a shot off Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin at 12:12 of the second period after a defensive breakdown to break a 1-1 tie.

The goal came 51 seconds after the Kings tied the game when Tyler Toffoli tapped Jarret Stoll's power-play rebound into an open net. It was the Kings' first goal against the Ducks in 1:48:08, dating to the first period of the Jan. 23 game. It also put Los Angeles on a 6-for-22 power play stretch.

Anaheim's fourth line did some strong work down low to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead. Matt Beleskey spun past Muzzin to start the possession, and Mathieu Perreault slipped a short pass that Jackman chipped past Jones at 13:01 of the first period.

Jackman hasn't been in Anaheim's lineup regularly but it was his second goal in his past three games.

"I don't play every game, so when I get in and I get to contribute that way on the score sheet, it's always fun because it doesn't happen often for me," Jackman said.

The teams combined for two shots on goal on four power plays in the first period. Anaheim went 0-for-3 and is in a 2-for-42 slump.

Anaheim snapped an 0-3-2 streak at Staples Center.

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