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Ducks rally, crown Kings

by Brian Compton
Ryan Getzlaf netted a pair of goals in the Anaheim Ducks' 3-2 comeback victory over the Pacific Division rival Los Angeles Kings Sunday night at the Honda Center.
After 20 minutes, it appeared as if the Los Angeles Kings would win back-to-back road games for the first time in almost two years.
But the Anaheim Ducks wouldn’t oblige.
Ryan Getzlaf scored twice to erase an early 2-0 deficit, and Chris Kunitz scored with just over three minutes to play in regulation as the Ducks snapped a two-game skid with a pulsating 3-2 win over the Kings at the Honda Center on Sunday night.

Los Angeles, which notched a 2-1 win at San Jose less than 24 hours earlier, hadn’t won two straight games on the road since picking up victories in Vancouver and Edmonton on Dec. 19 and 21 of 2005. Despite being handed a two-man advantage in the final minute, the Kings (9-13-1) were unable to notch the equalizer and send the game to overtime. Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 23 saves in the fifth meeting between the Southern California rivals this season.
“For some reason, we’ve been taking penalties with less than two minutes left and it cost us the other night,” Kunitz said. “It starts in goal with Jiggy making big saves. It was a great team effort at the end.”
''We got a couple (shots) off there; that's what we've got to do,'' Kings defenseman Rob Blake said. ''When there was a minute left, they did a good job of standing up and getting (the clock) down. You've got to shoot it.''
Kyle Calder gave Los Angeles a 1-0 lead at the 12:56 mark of the first period ( 700K ). Moments after killing off Anaheim’s third power play of the frame, Mike Cammalleri sent a backhand feed to Calder, who tapped it past Giguere for his fourth goal of the season.
Dustin Brown put the Kings up by two with just 20 seconds remaining in the opening period. With George Parros in the box for boarding, Brown was able to slam home Rob Blake’s rebound as Los Angeles took a 2-0 lead into the intermission. It was Brown’s 10th goal of the season.
“Everybody was calm,” Getzlaf said. “I think we played pretty well in the first period, other than a few mistakes. We fixed those and we were able to get the win going on the road.”
Getzlaf got Anaheim on the board quickly in the second period, when he deflected Francois Beauchemin’s shot past Kings’ goalie Jason LaBarbera at the 3:43 mark. It was the ninth goal of the season for Getzlaf, who signed a five-year extension with the defending champions five days earlier. He continued to pay dividends as he tied the game 8:02 into the third period, when he beat LaBarbera on a backhand shot to make it 2-2.
“I’m so excited to be here for the next five years,” said Getzlaf, who has notched a point in eight consecutive games. “I’m excited to be here with the fans and everybody.”
With 3:06 to play, Kunitz brought the Honda Center crowd to its feet when he slammed home a loose rebound to give Anaheim its first lead of the night. Moments earlier, both Todd Bertuzzi and Corey Perry had chances but hit the goalpost.
"We’ve been giving up leads late and it’s nice to come from behind and get a win,” Kunitz said. “It’s a momentum builder for our team."
As for the Kings, they’ll look to bounce back at San Jose on Wednesday night, when they finish up a stretch of 11 straight games against Pacific Division opponents. Los Angeles has compiled a record of 3-6-1 thus far.
“It’s frustrating,” Kings forward Patrick O’Sullivan said. “It’s kind of the way it’s been going the last couple of weeks. It’s hard to accept. I think a lot of nights, the effort’s been there. We played hard tonight.”
Blues 3, Flames 0 | Video
It had been nine months since Manny Legace recorded a shutout, but the St. Louis netminder wasn’t about to pat himself on the back after blanking Calgary on Sunday after stopping all 24 shots he faced.
Instead, Legace attributed the Blues’ sixth victory in seven games to yet another team-wide effort. Jamal Mayers scored twice for St. Louis, which has won five straight home games.
“It’s just hard work,” Legace said. “Guys have been coming to the rink every night and just putting the hard hats on and playing great defensive hockey in front of me. Let’s just hope it keeps up.”
Mayers gave the Blues a 1-0 lead just 27 seconds into the game ( 700K ). After Lee Stempniak fired his own rebound off the goalpost, Mayers collected the loose puck in the middle of the ice and put it past Calgary goaltender Curtis McElhinney for his fifth goal of the season. It marked the third time the season that St. Louis has scored in the first minute of the game.
“We started the year being pretty efficient scoring early,” Blues coach Andy Murray said. “Lately, we haven’t been doing quite as much of it. There’s no question – you just have to look statistically – it’s over 80 percent the team that scores the first goal in the hockey game wins. That’s just the way that it works.”
While Stempniak will take the victory, the Blues’ forward remains frustrated by his scoring woes this season. Stempniak, who had 27 goals in 2006-07, has just one goal thus far.
''It's tough, you're getting chances and they were good chances tonight,'' Stempniak said. ''I hit the post on an open net. The only thing that made that deflated feeling go away was to see Jammer put it in the open net.''
Brad Boyes put St. Louis up by a pair with his team-leading 13th goal of the season ( 700K ) with just 25 seconds remaining in the second period. After the Flames were whistled for having too many men on the ice, Boyes easily tapped in a cross-ice feed from Doug Weight to give the Blues a 2-0 lead.
“He’s just got tremendous talent,” Weight said of Boyes. “He’s a guy that came with a chip on his shoulder this year. When you get hot early, you can ride that wave. With his talent and the guys that he’s playing with, he’s getting opportunities and he’s feeling it. He’s got a great nose for the net.”
Jarome Iginla came close to ruining Legace’s shutout bid midway through the third period, but the Blues’ netminder shut the door as the puck landed between his legs ( 700K ). Replays showed that the puck did not cross the goal line, leaving the Flames frustrated and off the scoreboard. Calgary – which played its third game in four nights -- outshot St. Louis 24-18.
''(It) would have been nice if it had went in with about 10 minutes left, but it didn't,” Iginla said.

“We kept trying to throw some more things there and couldn't get anything by him tonight.''  

Mayers sealed the deal with a shorthanded, empty-net tally with 2:36 to play in regulation( 700K ). Trailing by two goals, Flames coach Mike Keenan opted to pull McElhinney early, but Calgary was unable to solve Legace.
“We’re very structured and keeping to a game plan,” Legace said. “We’re just following what the coach is offering in the dressing room. Guys are working hard – extremely hard.”

Canucks 2, Blackhawks 0 | Video
Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo stoped all 27 Chicago shots he faced as Vancouver blanked the Blackhawks, 2-0. 
Chicago failed to record a point for the first time in five games for one reason – Roberto Luongo.
The Vancouver netminder was fabulous, stopping all 27 shots he faced, as the Blackhawks (12-9-2) were forced to conclude their six-game road trip with a loss.
Brendan Morrison scored a power play goal just 3:08 into the game, which turned out to be the lone blemish on Patrick Lalime’s night. The Blackhawks’ netminder – who made his first start in five games -- finished with 26 saves and didn’t have much of a chance on Morrison’s goal, as the Canucks’ forward had an open net to shoot at after a perfect feed from Sami Salo.
''That was a pretty easy one,'' Morrison said. ''They have to respect Sami's shot and he made a great pass. Sami's friendship dues are in the mail.''
Daniel Sedin added an empty-net goal with 31.7 seconds left in regulation as Vancouver improved to 7-1-2 in its past 10 games.
Luongo’s best save of the night came in the second period, when he denied Dustin Byfuglien on an odd-man rush ( 700K ). The Canucks’ goaltender was able to slide across the crease and get his right pad on the point-blank shot, helping preserve his second shutout of the season.
''The win is what's most important,'' Luongo said. ''It was a really tight game. It took a solid 60 minutes tonight and even then it came down to the wire.''
Blackhawks coach Denis Savard was pleased with the way his team performed during its six-game trip, as it finished 2-2-2. Sunday marked Chicago’s third game in four nights.
“We battled. I’m not surprised,” Savard said. “We’ve got lots of character in there. What you saw on this road trip – not just tonight – it’s what the Hawks are all about now. We’ve got skill, we’ve got character … we took it upon ourselves to play a strong, physical game. We continued to battle the whole game.”
Indeed the Blackhawks did, as they peppered Luongo with 12 shots in the third period. But the Canucks' goaltender stood tall throughout the night to record the 34th shutout of his career.
“Both goalies were good; Pat made some great saves for us, so did Luongo,” Savard said. “He’s a great goalie. We know that. He’s probably one of the top three in the league, if not No. 1 or 2. We know what we’re facing and we know we’ve got to get a little more traffic in front of him. He’s a big goalie and there’s not a lot of room in there.”

Material from wire services and team websites was used in this report.
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