Game 82; 46-28-8
LOS ANGELES - They chose to end their season donning their Stadium Series uniforms and, unlike the first time they wore them, the Los Angeles Kings were able to find the back of the net on this night. Unfortunately, despite tying the game twice and making things very interesting in the latter stages, the silver-and-black fell just short to their crosstown rivals, losing 4-3 in the shootout.
This was the fifth and final installment of the Freeway Faceoff of 2013-14 between the Kings and Anaheim Ducks. After losing their last three decisions to their rivals from Orange County, the Kings were looking to end that slide and finish the regular season on a high note.
Before the game, the Kings made a stand-up gesture by honoring soon-to-be-retired Teemu Selanne of the Ducks. Selanne didn't dress for Anaheim for the game as he will suit up for his team's regular-season finale on home ice on Sunday. Following the ceremony where they honoured the future Hall-of-Famer with a surfboard, the Kings got to work - and almost immediately at that.
Just 4:43 into the contest, Willie Mitchell fed captain Dustin Brown who broke in on a breakaway to beat Anaheim's Frederik Andersen to open the scoring. The goal was Brown's 15th, his lowest regular-season total since 2005-06.
Unfortunately for the Kings, their lead did not last long.
Just 1:31 later, Nick Bonino capitalized on a rare defensive lapse in the Los Angeles zone, backhanding his 21st past Jonathan Quick to tie it.
In the second, the Ducks took the lead in a controversial style.
At the 2:33 mark of the second, Hampus Lindholm took a shot that was tipped in by Devante Smith-Pelly, but it wasn't tipped in with his stick. Instead, Smith-Pelly tipped the puck in with his skate in a distinct kicking motion - but the goal stood anyway. More on this later.
While the Kings weren't able to score in the middle frame, they did tie it just 48 seconds into the third thanks to an Anze Kopitar wraparound. The goal was Kopitar's 28th from Justin Williams and Marian Gaborik.
Anaheim's Matt Belesky wired a top-corner shot with 4:47 to go in the third to give his team the late lead but Kopitar struck again, sniping his second of the night just 1:35 later to tie the game again. This contest was heading into overtime.
With the regulation point, the Ducks clinched the top seed in the West while with their point, the Kings hit the 100-point plateau for just the fourth time in franchise history and first since 2009-10.
With three goals against, the Kings were leading the Jennings Trophy race by a single goal. A win and it was theirs but a loss and they'd have to wait for the Boston Bruins (the team they'd be tied with) to play on Sunday.
After a back-and-forth overtime session, nothing was settled. Then, after one round of a scoreless shootout, it was Devante Smith-Pelly who ended it beating Quick to give the Ducks the win.
With that, the Los Angeles Kings finish their season with a mark of 46-28-8. In addition, they finish with identical 23-14-4 marks on home and on the road which should underline the notion that the silver-and-black can garner success anywhere they play. There's no franchise record for wins, no personal record in wins for Darryl Sutter and no word on the status of the Jennings Trophy yet. But in spite of all of that, it has been one heck of a season for the Los Angeles Kings.
From here, it's onto the playoffs where the Kings will travel to San Jose to take on their heated rivals, the Sharks.