Ducks Clinch Top Spot in the West with 4-3 Shootout Win

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

A deflected goal, an assist he won't get credited for and a shootout winner by Devante Smith-Pelly helped the Ducks to a 4-3 shootout win in Los Angeles, the first overall seed in the Western Conference and a date with the Dallas Stars in the first round.

Final Score:  Ducks 4, Kings 3 (Shootout)

Prior to the game the Kings honored Teemu Selanne.  They specifically thanked him for all he's done for hockey in Southern California, and since he wasn't playing they invited him out to center ice and presented him with a custom Teemu themed stand up paddle board.  This isn't a word that gets thrown around a lot about the Kings on our site, but that was an undoubtedly classy move from a rival organization.

Other notes:  As expected, Saku Koivu was scratched for this game, as was Sami Vatanen and Jonas Hiller with Boudreau opting for Frederik Andersen to start and John Gibson to back up.  The Kings were once again without Drew Doughty and interestingly chose to wear their Stadium Series grey jerseys against the Ducks' road whites.  Anyway, on to the hockey...

First Period Recap: The first five minutes were dominated by the Kings.  They got the first dangerous opportunity on a 2-on-1 rush for Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik.  Andersen had to make two good saves on the play and a pass went right through the crease behind him, but didn't find a King on the other side.

The Kings opened the scoring before the first TV timeout, as Francois Beauchemin stepped up in the neutral zone to pressure the puck, but eventually turned it over to Dustin Brown for a breakaway and he put it through Andersen's legs to take the lead.

The Ducks responded quickly though as Nick Bonino got them on the board with a diving, spinning backhand shot that caught Jonathan Quick out of his crease and almost flat on his stomach.  Just 1:31 after Brown's goal it were tied back up.

On the next shift, Bonino was forced to trip Tyler Tofoli rather than let him walk right into Andersen's crease.  The Kings got almost nothing going on the ensuing power play but shortly afterward they had a flurry of chances, two of which went off the post.

Brown went off for holding a few minutes later when he just hauled down Kyle Palmieri as he attempted to carry the puck out of the zone.  Corey Perry took a bit of a beating on the PP, catching a high stick and a butt end in the face before the penalty was half over.  The Ducks PP was much better than the Kings' getting a couple of shots on net, but nothing to really bother Quick.

And so the period ended tied at ones.  Not a bad period once the Ducks settled down after the first few minutes.  The Ducks outshot the Kings 8-5 mostly thanks to that late power play.

Second Period Recap: The first few minutes of the second were evenly played with the Ducks having near odd man rush and the Kings a chance off of a deflection in front.  Just two and a half minutes in Hampus Lindholm sent a wrist shot through traffic that caught the slightest of deflections off of Devante Smith-Pelly's foot to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead.

On the next shift Matt Greene tripped Mathieu Perreault and during the delayed penalty Patrick Maroon had a point blank chance go wide.  The Ducks had a lot of fancy puck movement on the power play but couldn't really get any clean shots toward Quick.

Perreault lost the handle on the puck as he worked along the boards and instinctively reached out, tripping Mike Richards to send the Kings on their second power play of the game.  That power play was much better for the Kings, their best chance coming on a shot from Slava Voynov one timing a pass from below the goal line, but Andersen was all over it.

At this point we found out that both Bryan Allen and Ben Lovejoy had gone to the dressing room for repairs.  Both returned to the game very shortly thereafter.

The Kings were buzzing even after the kill, and nearly tied it back up as Andersen mishandled a puck and almost kicked it into his own net.

Corey Perry had one of the Ducks' few offensive forays into the Kings' zone, late in the period 1-on-1 with Jake Muzzin, but he couldn't get the shot off and was subsequently hammered into the boards by Greene.  Next time he went up the ice he tried to split Voynov and Robyn Regehr but was taken down and drew a penalty to Regehr.  For the second time, the PP took a little while to get going, but showed some good puck movement and couldn't direct much on Quick.

As the penalty was killed, Rickard Rakell drew another one on Brown, protecting the puck in the defensive zone, Brown got his stick into the midsection of Rakell who did a little twist to make sure it really hooked in.  Brown was not amused, but he was off with just under two minutes remaining in the period.

The most notable play during the power play was when Voynov crushed Beauchemin head first into the boards.  I guess it could have been called boarding, but it was more of an awkward it, than really from behind and Beauch was no worse for wear.  The Ducks didn't score before the end of the period so they carried over eight seconds of power play time into the final frame.

Third Period Recap: Obviously nothing came from the few remaining seconds of power play.  Immediately afterward the Kings had two quality chances.  First a 3-on-2 that was broken up but then Justin Williams dumped the puck in behind Andersen, Kopitar picked it up timing it perfectly so that Andersen was caught on the far post and scored on the wrap around.  Less than a minute into the third, it was tied back up at two.

At that point, the physical play picked up, most notably Perreault getting slammed be Regehr on a strong forechecking shift from his line with Patrick Maroon and DSP.  Maroon had a half chance with the puck in front of Quick, but was knocked off the puck before he could really do anything with it.

That shift was an anomaly in the beginning of the third period however, as the Kings controlled the puck almost exclusively.  Just under seven minutes in there was an awkward moment when Muzzin shot from a sharp angle, Andersen had it covered, but had to check behind himself to make sure it wasn't 3-2.  The Kings continued to pressure in the chaos, but Rakell eventually helped them escape.

About eight minutes into the period the Ducks went shorthanded once again, although you might have expected it to come as a result of the Kings' pressure, it actually was just an errant stick from Bonino that cost him two minutes.  Just past the halfway point of that penalty Lovejoy was also sent off for high sticking Richards, giving the Kings 46 seconds of 5-on-3.  Los Angeles had the puck for the vast majority of the two man advantage but the Ducks held them off.  During the second penalty Williams ripped one off of the cross bar and Anaheim escaped still tied after the penalties.

Completely against the run of play, Matt Beleskey scored on an absolute rocket over the shoulder of Quick.  Ryan Getzlaf blocked a point shot to start the play.  As Muzzin regained control and moved through the neutral zone DSP stood him up and Beleskey took it into the Kings end.  Once he got into the faceoff circle he got a little bit of pressure from Greene and just wired it past Quick.  3-2 Ducks with under five minutes to go.

Just over a minute later Kopitar evened it back up.  He started the play himself, carrying into the zone and after a few passes around, he pulled it around Getzlaf and placed a perfect wrist shot stick side on Andersen.

The rest of the game was pretty evenly back and forth, but no breakthrough, so it was off to overtime.  And with that standings point the Ducks clinched the top seed in the West and a matchup with the Dallas Stars to start the playoffs next week.

Overtime Recap: This overtime period was NUTS!

The Ducks started the overtime strong, Perry had the game on his stick in front of Quick and he held for what seemed like an hour before shoveling it into the pads.  Right after that the Kings went on a 3-on-2, Jeff Carter held the puck the whole way, but it was broken up by Getzlaf.  Down the other end, Getzy made a crazy move at the side of the net but couldn't jam it past Quick with three whacks at the puck.

After a very slight settling of the play, Lindholm was buried setting up a 2-on-1 down low for the Kings.  Williams took the shot and was stopped by Andersen.  On the next rush, Perreault got in alone on Quick but the Kings' goalie got his glove on it and sent it out of play.  Off the ensuing faceoff Perreault's next shot glanced off the toe of Quick and then the post.

Andersen made a nice stop on Gaborik after Beauch committed a pretty nasty turnover with just over a minute remaining in OT.  Getzlaf swept one from a sharp angle on Quick but it was off to a shootout.

Shootout Recap:

Kopitar - SAVE

Bonino - MISS

Gaborik - SAVE

Rakell - SAVE

Carter - SAVE

Perry - MISS

Williams - SAVE

Smith-Pelly - GOAL

DUCKS WIN!

*****

The Good: The Ducks got the point they needed to clinch the number one seed in the Western Conference playoffs, and capped it off with a shootout win to close the season series out with the Kings on a 4-0-1 record.  Also in the smaller picture, that overtime session was F***ING AMAZING!

The Bad: As expected, the Kings controlled large portions of the game.  This wasn't the complete performance that we saw against San Jose the other night, but not entirely terrible.

The Ugly: Those aforementioned long stretches of pure dominance by the Kings were pretty rough, even if the Ducks did escape.  Particularly through the middle of the second period they went almost 11 full minutes without one shot attempt.

*****

3rd MVD: Corey Perry - Was dangerous throughout the game.  Especially when the Kings were controlling the game completely, he was the only one to really push forward for any kind of scoring chances.

2nd MVD: Frederik Andersen - The second Kings' goal could be put on him, but this was easily the best goaltending performance from a Ducks goalie in the past few weeks.  No offense to John Gibson's shutout.  Also this was Andersen's first NHL shootout and he stopped all four shots he faced.

1st MVD: Devante Smith-Pelly - Played a big part in the second and third Ducks goals (even if he doesn't end up getting an assist on the Beleskey goal) and put in the shootout winner.

Next Game: Regular Season Finale Sunday, April 13, 5pm PT home to the Colorado Avalanche

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