If you looked at the game summary, you'd think this was an incredibly physical, goaltenders duel. I guess I can kind of agree with that. Although, I'm not sure if that's because the Kings and the Ducks stepped up their games tonight or because both teams are just really bad. Don't get me wrong, Jonas Hiller and Jonathan Quick played pretty well, but they weren't exactly facing a team full of All Stars on either side. By far their hardest test was in the shootout.
After a scoreless first period, the Ducks opened up the scoring with a beautiful shot from up high by Lubomir Visnovsky that Nicklas Hagman redirected in past Quick. About three minutes later, Duck Hunter Mike Richards scored on a tip in from Drew Doughty. The goal was thanks in part to Ryan Getzlaf losing yet another face off by dropping to one knee on the dot against Richards.
The Kings would take the lead in the third with a wrister by Dustin Brown. Hiller never saw the shot because he was screened by struggling sophomore defenseman Cam Fowler. It appeared to be just another Ducks loss as the clocked wound down, but Lubo would step up once again with another bomb from up high in past Quick, tying up the game as it went into OT. Neither the Kings nor Ducks could capitalize on power play opportunities while playing 4-on-4, sending the game into the shootout. Corey Perry would be the only one to score for the Ducks as Teemu Selanne and Kyle Palmieri missed their chances. It would be the hard wrist shots that would be Hiller's undoing as Jared Stoll and Dustin Brown scored. Darryl Sutter received his first win in his first game behind the bench for the Kings.
-- Jonas Hiller had one of his few really strong games of the season, stopping 32 of 34 shots. He made those glove catches where he snatches the puck out of the air that we're used to seeing. While the Ducks didn't win, this has to help Hiller's confidence. For the first time, in a long time, he didn't give up upwards of four to five goals in a game.
-- Following his great game after returning from injury, Lubo has not played well. He's shooting the puck, as expected, but his defensive errors have been costly. Perhaps being back in California helped get him get his head straight has he ended up a +2 on the night with 4 shots on goal (tying Corey Perry for the team high), and one of those shots being a huuuge tying goal. I didn't see quite as many Getzlaf-esque no look drop passes either.
-- I'm not very happy with him, but I can't overlook Getzlaf's seven hits. I saw shades of Hulkzlaf with the legal hits. More on him later.
-- I like Matt Beleskey. He's not an offensive threat, but he'll throw down with anyone. He held his own tonight with Colin Frazer. George Parros isn't fighting as much this season, and it's left to Beleskey and Sheldon Brookbank to pickup the slack.
-- The penalty had been taking a nosedive the past two games, but tonight it went 5 for 5. The PK came up huge in OT when Bobby Ryan took a late penalty and the Kings could have easily closed it out.
-- I had my second "WTF Boudreau" moment tonight. It was the shootout line up. As I read along with who was going out there, I went "Corey Perry, natch. Teemu Selanne, duh. Kyle Palmieri...what the?" I guess I can understand what he's doing by putting the goal leader from the Crunch in to shoot, but it's not like Kyle is facing Patrick Roy in the AHL. Although I trust almost no one on the Ducks at this point, I would have gone with Bobby Ryan to give us the better chance to win. I am happy he didn't go with Getzlaf. (If you're wondering, my first "WTF Boudreau" moment was during his first game when he took Selanne off the top power play unit towards the end of the game. I gave him a pass for seemingly knowing nothing at all about his new team.)
-- Of the centers that take a majority of the face offs, the best one on the evening was...Andrew Cogliano? He must read the blog because I'm pretty sure I called him the worst center ever. Trust me that's not exactly an honor because Cogs went 9 for 17, just a shade over 50%. The other two main centers, Getzlaf and Nick Bonino went 11 for 27 and 4 for 12, respectively. When speaking to the OC Register, Boudreau made it painfully clear that we suck at face offs without Saku Koivu. Read the article if you haven't. Andrew Gordon isn't going to get any adoration from Boudreau when somewhat questioning the decision to send Maxime Macenauer down to Syracuse.
-- Cam Fowler is getting frustrated. After a whistle, I saw him throw a deliberate elbow at Dustin Brown's face. I like the physical side of him, but no one can deny that he's struggling mightily this season. He's young, so he can play the extra minutes, but maybe it's just too much. There were a few times tonight I found myself cringing at the offensive zone turnovers he gave the Kings. If Boudreau helped turn Mike Green into a key offensive defenseman, he's got a talented kid here that's needs the help. Anyone else wonder if Scotty is spending as much time around the team this year since Cam moved out?
-- HAVE YOU SEEN THIS BOY? He's missing, only to turn up periodically during games.
-- Getzlaf is infuriating. We can talk all day about how he's lazy or how expectations were too high in the first place. The one thing we all can agree on is that he's immature. He's been doing the same thing for years - being goaded into scuffles with the lesser talent on the other team leading to penalties. Tonight, he and Colin Frazer earned matching penalties for having words/fists with each other (it was an odd Unsportsmanlike Conduct Penalty). Hmm, Frazer for Getzlaf, talent wise that's even, right? Corey Perry did the same thing for years until he finally got it. You can defend yourself, but don't give in when the other team's 4th line pest is getting in your face after the whistle.