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Ducks rally late in third, top Kings in shootout

by Curtis Zupke / NHL.com

ANAHEIM -- Ryan Kesler had two goals in regulation and scored in the shootout Wednesday to help the Anaheim Ducks rally for a 6-5 win against the Los Angeles Kings at Honda Center.

Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg scored on wrist shots and Ducks goalie Jason LaBarbera stopped Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter.

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick made 44 saves but took the shootout loss in a game that unexpectedly produced 10 goals. Anaheim rallied from a 5-3 deficit in the third in another thrilling edition of the local series. For Kesler, it was his first taste of the Ducks-Kings rivalry.

Kesler knows great theater can come from rivalries from his time with the Vancouver Canucks. From the satisfied look on his face Wednesday, he looks forward to more games like this one.

"Intense, fun," Kesler said. "It's two good teams going against one another. I kind of know the rivalry from Canucks-Kings rivalry, and it kind of had the same feeling as that.

"The fact that we battled back and even going down two [goals] late in the third and the way we came back and the way we tied it up to force overtime, then to win in a shootout makes it sweeter."

Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf forced overtime with a tip of Devante Smith-Pelly's shot at 18:21 of the third. Until then it appeared that Los Angeles was going to escape with a regulation win on a night when it was outplayed and outshot by the Ducks, 49-26.

It was the second time in nine games Anaheim scored more than two goals, and it was needed when starting goalie Frederik Andersen was pulled.

"This was the best game we've played in a long time," Getzlaf said. "I was proud. Our guys played really well tonight. We had kind of ups and downs throughout the game, but I felt we played really well all night long."

Justin Williams put in a big rebound left by LaBarbera at 11:01 of the third to give the Kings a 5-3 lead. But Anaheim came back with goals by Kesler and Getzlaf to electrify a standing-room only crowd of 17,245 that was treated to plenty of action.

Los Angeles never trailed and took leads of 2-0, 3-1 and 5-3. It played the final 25 minutes with 10 forwards because Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson were benched in a bold message from coach Darryl Sutter.

"It's a big, physical team they were playing," Sutter said. "So you have to be prepared to play like that."

The game capped another installment to an entertaining series, the first game since the Kings eliminated the Ducks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round on May 16. They'll play against Saturday at Staples Center.

"For people that saw it on [Wednesday] Rivalry Night, they know what the rivalry is all about now," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I thought it was a pretty intense game, and exciting for the fans."

The Kings fell to 1-3-3 on the road, and cracks have shown in a defense that is missing the injured Robyn Regehr and suspended Slava Voynov. Los Angeles has bragging rights from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but Sutter noted a difference after Anaheim won its fifth straight regular-season game against the Kings.

"They're a much better team than we are," Sutter said. "They proved it last year. They did again tonight."

The Kings chased Andersen after Trevor Lewis scored on a harmless wrist shot that beat Andersen glove side for a 3-1 Kings lead at 9:20 of the second. It was quite similar to Lewis' goal against John Gibson in Game 6 last spring.

Anaheim got goals by Cam Fowler and Silfverberg to pull within 3-2 prior to second intermission, and it would have been different if Quick hadn't made 14 saves in the second period, including a highlight-reel stop against Rickard Rakell.

The Ducks dictated play for most of the first period but Los Angeles took a 2-0 lead by taking advantage of the few chances they did have. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty scored his first goal of the season when he put the puck on net from his back foot at 19:11 of the first. Anze Kopitar forced a turnover in the corner to create the initial shot by Jake Muzzin.

A two-goal lead is usually safe for the Kings, who entered Wednesday 6-0-0 when leading after two periods. But Doughty acknowledged they were trying to cut corners.

"A lot of people were cheating out there tonight," Doughty said. "I don't think we were playing responsible in our own zone. We were trying to get breakaways, trying to find odd-man rushes and trying to make pretty plays. Against a team like that that's very good in the neutral zone, you just can't do that. Without Quickie making some big saves, we probably wouldn't have made it to overtime."

Kopitar scored on a penalty shot 9:21 into the game after being hooked by Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen on a breakaway opportunity. It was the first penalty shot goal in Kopitar's career (1-for-3).

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