Friday, January 21, 2022

Column: Ducks vs. Kings – hockey at its finest

The first meeting this season between the Kings and the Ducks was like the good old days of seven or eight years ago, when both teams dared to dive into the Stanley Cup playoffs every spring, and each meeting was a hard battle for every inch of ice. … …

They’ve gone through tedious rebuilds and non-playoff finishes lately, and while both have made progress, neither has progressed far enough to be considered a title contender again. But the intensity of their play and the skill they displayed in the ducks’ 5-4 penalty shootout on Tuesday night at Staples Center marked progress for both teams, and they could appreciate it.

“It was an exciting hockey game. Two teams try to do the same thing at the same time. “And I thought both teams worked really hard tonight,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said after his team survived a three-goal draw in the Kings’ third period and won a shootout to the outstanding striker. rookie Trevor Zegras and seasoned defender Kevin Shattenkirk.

“In a perfect world, do we want to finish this game 4-1? Absolutely. Are we going to turn to some places where we can get better? Absolutely.”

The Kings, which after a streak of seven wins with a 1-3-3 slip, returned the invaluable services of defenseman Drew Doughty, who missed 16 games with a bruised knee. He played 27 minutes and 55 seconds, fired three shots, struck two and blocked two shots, his old image again.

“It was good. It was a great comeback, ”he said. “Today they have scored some good goals. Unfortunately, we had a few unsuccessful matches against us, but we showed a lot of heart to come back and relate this. We just didn’t achieve this victory ”.

This also upset Kings coach Todd McLellan. “You have to find a way to get by,” he said, “and that’s where we are now.”

That’s a couple of points for the Western Conference playoffs. The Ducks are in third place in the Pacific Division, which puts them in the playoffs.

“It was fun to watch and it was fun to see this group grow together,” Eakins said. “It’s still very early in the season and we’ll see where this all goes.”

He also said he expects to know on Wednesday about the extent of the lower-body injury that knocked team captain Ryan Getzlaf out of Tuesday’s game early in the first period. Getzlaf, who has been reborn this season and will be missed if absent for a long time, will be over-rated by the team’s doctors.

Anaheim Ducks defender Kevin Shattenkirk celebrates his first game of the season against the Los Angeles Kings with a shoot-out goal.

(Mark J. Terrill / The Associated Press)

After a scoreless first period, the Ducks broke through Troy Terry’s excellent instant shot at 10:43 in the second period. The Kings tied the score at 13:29 after a beautiful pass to the left of Viktor Arvidsson, who bounced off the net and was pushed back by Alex Jafallo. This ended in a seven-game drought for Jafallo.

The Ducks took a 2-1 lead at 17:53 in the second period, when Shattenkirk used Kings defender Matt Roy for cover and made an upward throw that went past Jonathan Quick’s outstretched left hand. This goal was the fifth for Shattenkirk this season.

A power-play goal that was scored by Ducks defender Cam Fowler at 2:27 of the third period after he deflected Kings striker Trevor Moore and a kick that deflected past Quick after hitting teammate Alex Edler gave the Ducks a 4-1 lead in 2:56 am. This goal was attributed to Isak Lundestrom.

The Kings remained positive and it paid off when Adrian Kempe redirected Roy’s shot to 7:56. They seemed to have scored again at 8:17 am after the scrum in front, but the review showed that Karl Grundstrom hit the puck with a high stick and the goal was saved.

The Kings continued to pressurize and shot one goal at 15:08 when Jafallo rolled the bouncing puck. They even pulled out at 3:34 p.m. when Dustin Brown threw the puck past John Gibson from the doorway, scoring his first goal in 16 games.

Fowler hit the post in extra time, and the teams went on a penalty shootout. Kings striker Lias Andersson scored in the first round against the Kings, but Gibson was solid and backed by goals from Zegras and Shattenkirk.

“Some of us guys that have been around for a while know that it will take more to maintain the lead, and when you have the lead in this league, you have to do a good job of limiting the teams,” Fowler said. … “We have shown that we can do it, but we need to do it consistently, so we have to prove it to ourselves.”

For Eakins, the Ducks’ persistence in winning the away game and improving to 12-8-3 meant more than losing the lead in the third period. “I’m never going to get upset taking two dots out of this building. Never, ”he said.

For the Kings, who will next meet at home with Calgary and former coach Darryl Sutter, work continues. “We definitely need to end this losing streak, and we need to pick up a winning streak and only lose one in five or six if we can,” Doughty said.

McLellan said the Kings’ level of play did not drop dramatically as they enjoyed a seven-win streak and won close matches rather than losing. “We have no results, timely goals, timely – if I say saves, it sounds like a goalkeeper – but timely defensive games,” he said. “Maybe some of the players in the majority would help somewhere in this direction.”

Before the game, the Kings learned that they will be left without striker Brendan Lemieux for the next five games as a result of an NHL suspension as punishment for Lemieux biting Ottawa striker Brady Tkachuk last Saturday. Lemieux was lucky to be banned for only five games; The NHL Player Safety Department had clear video evidence that he bit Tkachuk with his bare left hand, but could find no evidence that he also bit Tkachuk in his right hand, as Tkachuk claimed.

“This is not hockey,” the traffic police said. “This is a player who inflicts a strong, deliberate and potentially dangerous bite into another player’s hand with enough force to pierce the skin.”

Lemieux is the son of former NHL striker Claude Lemieux, who played for Montreal when he bit Calgary striker Jim Peplinsky on the finger during the 1986 Stanley Cup final. Based on his average annual salary, Brendan Lemieux will lose $ 38,750. The money will go to the Players Emergency Fund.

“They made a decision and we live with the consequences,” McLellan said of the league’s decision.

The punishment was correct for a shameful and unnecessary act. It will likely show up on more vibrant footage than on Tuesday’s goal replays and saves. It’s a shame, because the renewal of the Kings-Ducks rivalry has been the most spectacular of hockey ever.

Nation World News Desk
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