Game 52; 29-17-6
ANAHEIM - After losing back-to-back in regulation, a win at the unfriendly confines of the Honda Center would have done the Los Angeles Kings wonders. As a final tune-up before the long-anticipated Stadium Series game, the Kings certainly got off to the start they were looking for. But would it be enough?
3:13 into the first, Anze Kopitar got things started with his 14th from Dwight King and Trevor Lewis to put the road side in front.
After winning there back on December 3, the Kings were hoping to repeat their success in Orange County. But the Ducks, despite recently losing their first regulation game there this week, were still a league-best 20-1-2 on home ice - and they certainly weren't going to take a night off for the benefit of their cross-town rivals.
After outshooting the Ducks 13-4, the Kings had just a one-goal lead after the first 20 minutes. Unfortunately, the Ducks answered back in the second.
While there was no scoring in the first half of the middle frame, the Ducks did answer. At the 13:51 mark of the second, it was the former King, Dustin Penner, tipping in a Corey Perry shot for his 12th of the year to tie it. Then, just 4:02 later, rookie Patrick Maroon did a wrap-around before tucking his fourth past Jonathan Quick to give the Ducks the first lead of the night - a lead the home team would not relinquish.
After dominating in the shot department in the first, Los Angeles was even with Anaheim in the second in said category (8-9) before midly outshooting them 10-8 in the third. Overall, the Kings outshot the Ducks 31-21 but rookie netminder Frederik Andersen was having none of it, turning away 30 en route to improving to 13-2-0 on the season.
Overall, a strong start by the Kings turned into lethargy by the final buzzer - well before, for that matter. By the third, the Ducks showed why they have been so dominant this season. In fact, it wasn't for Jonathan Quick's play and some timely defense, the end result could have looked a lot worse for the silver-and-black.
There's not much momentum in Los Angeles's favour heading into Saturday's outdoor game but they do hope to turn things around as all of the Kings fan will be out at Dodger Stadium cheering on their boys, hoping for a win.