ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Jonathan Hedstrom was stuck on a checking line before Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle decided to team him with Joffrey Lupul and Todd Marchant against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.
The results were instantaneous.
Hedstrom scored consecutive goals exactly 7 minutes apart in the second period to break open a tie game and completed his first NHL hat trick in the third period, leading the Mighty Ducks to a 6-2 victory that dropped the Kings into second place in the Pacific Division behind Dallas.
"I was shaking when I scored the third one," said Hedstrom, a 28-year-old right wing acquired from Toronto in June 2000. "I know I can score, but I need to shoot the puck more. I've always looked to pass first, but you need to be selfish sometimes. It was big to do it in the NHL. I wish my parents could have been here, because it's probably never going to happen again."
Andy McDonald and Ryan Getzlaf had power-play goals in the first period and Chris Kunitz also scored for the Ducks, who were back at their home rink for the first time since Dec. 21 and beat the Kings for the first time in three attempts this season. Lupul had three assists and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 41 saves.
Craig Conroy and Lubomir Visnovsky scored for Los Angeles in the first of four meetings this month between the Southern California rivals. Kings goalie Mathieu Garon, playing on his 28th birthday, allowed more than three goals for only the second time in his last 20 starts and finished with 21 saves.
"They didn't take that many shots, but most of them were good shots and good scoring chances," Garon said. "They've got great offensive players. You don't want to think about a game like this too long, but at the same time, we've got to look at the video and see what went wrong."
Hedstrom gave Anaheim a 3-2 lead at 8:21 of the second, beating Garon to the far side with a slap shot from the top of the left circle. He then converted a rebound from in front of the crease just seconds after Lupul shot wide of the left post on a breakaway.
Hedstrom ended the scoring with his 11th goal of the season on a short wrist shot after Lupul found him all alone in the slot with 6:32 remaining.
"He had a great game for them," said Kings captain Mattias Norstrom, a fellow Swede. "I played with him last year during the world championships, and I know he's a hard-working guy that knows how to put the puck in the net. A hat trick - I knew he had it in him. He's not known as a finisher, but he's a great team guy and I know tonight was really special for him."
McDonald gave Anaheim a 2-1 lead at 12:59 of the first period with his 14th goal, a short wrist shot under Garon's left leg pad from the right of the net with 20 seconds left on a 5-on-3 power play. The play resulted in McDonald's 30th point of the season, which eclipsed his previous career high. He added an assist on Kunitz's goal with 8:45 to play.
The Kings received a two-man advantage of their own in the final minute of the opening period when Getzlaf was sent off for tripping and Samuel Pahlsson got whistled for interference 25 seconds later. Visnovsky tied the score 46 seconds after intermission with his 13th goal, beating Giguere to the glove side on a one-timer from 35 feet with 37 seconds left on Getzlaf's infraction.
Playing in front of their fourth sellout crowd this season, the Ducks opened the scoring with their first shot on net. Sean Avery was serving a slashing penalty when Getzlaf beat Garon with a 30-foot wrist shot from the left circle at the 5:48 mark for his fifth goal.
"It's a tough loss for us, but I don't feel at all that we can fault our effort," Norstrom said. "Sometimes you've got to find a better balance between working hard and being smart out there. We had 43 shots and had so many opportunities to bury the puck, but we were not efficient. We also had some breakdowns defensively. The Ducks did a good job, and they were effective with the opportunities they had."
Notes: Kings LW Alexander Frolov has just three goals in 27 games since his hat trick on at Columbus on Nov. 13. ... Kings LW Luc Robitaille, looking for the goal that would tie Marcel Dionne's franchise record, had five shots on net. ... C Pavol Demitra, one of seven regulars out of the Kings' lineup with injuries, missed his second straight game because of a deep bruise on his right thigh. ... The Ducks are 8-1-1 in their last nine games at the Pond. ... Conroy has at least one point in each of his last 11 games.