King Can't Live Up to Amazing Atmosphere as They Get Blanked; Fall to 29-18-6
Game 53; 29-18-6
LOS ANGELES - I intend to cover how wonderful the atmosphere was, how amazing it was to be a part of NHL history covering the first-ever outdoor game in California in league history. There were plenty of positives to come from the 2014 Stadium Series matchup between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks. Unfortunately, none of that had to do with the game itself.
While they have lost three-in-a-row in regulation, Kings fans were optimistic entering Dodger Stadium on Saturday. Perhaps a game of such magnitude against a rival they hold so much hostility towards would help the cause. It didn't.
The Ducks jumped out to an early 1-0 lead courtesy of Corey Perry who tapped his 28th past Jonathan Quick at the 2:45 mark of the first. Then, at the 8:12 mark, Matt Beleskey's second put the Ducks up by a pair. On the goal, the ageless one, 42-year-old Teemu Selanne notched an assist, adding to his already-impressive Hall-of-Fame resume.
The Kings, on the other hand, could not get anything going on this night. Despite firing 20 shots on Anaheim's Jonas Hiller in the first period alone, they were kept off the board. The home team registered 36 total shots on the evening but no goals came as the end result.
Andrew Cogliano iced it into an empty net to seal the Anaheim win as the Ducks continue their torrid ways in the win column this season, improving to 39-10-5 on the year.
Speaking of Hiller, the Swiss Olympian became just the second netminder in an NHL outdoor game to post a shutout. Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff was the first, turning away 39 Montreal shots en route to a 4-0 win at the 2011 Heritage Classic. The shutout was Hiller's first of the season - hard to believe considering it was his 24th win on the year and 15th in his last 17.
Another bit of history came in the first as Anze Kopitar joined Daniel Briere as the only two players to be awarded penalty shots in an NHL outdoor game. Brier had a penalty shot at the 2012 Winter Classic in Philadelphia when his Flyers played the New York Rangers. Briere was stopped by Henrik Lundqvist, by the way.
For those fans of pyrotechnics and overrated musicians, they certainly got their money's worth with KISS who performed during the pre-game and first intermission. Fans of soft rock got treated to Los Angeles's own Five For Fighting during the second intermission.
Overall, the atmosphere was wonderful. The game, not so much.
It's now back to the drawing board for the Kings who travel to San Jose next hoping a date against the Sharks can put them back in the win column.