Ducks Can't Hold Off LA, Lose Game One at Home in OT 3-2

Jeff Gross

The first ever playoff meeting between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks was absolutely everything it was billed up to be, including a late dramatic winner from LA to steal home ice.

Final Score: Ducks 2, Kings 3

First Period Recap: It was clear early that one of these teams had been playing recently and another had been resting for a while. The resting team came out slow. The Anaheim Ducks got themselves into a bit of penalty trouble early on when Robyn Regher flopped and took out his own goalpost Teemu Selanne got nailed for interference, and then Nick Bonino for hooking just a few minutes later.

This was all the Los Angeles Kings would need to open the scoring. Some nice cycling caught Saku Koivu out of position and Alec Martinez drifted into a soft spot where Jeff Carter found him with a short pass for a tip-in goal to give the Kings an early 1-0 lead.

That proved to be the slap in the face the Ducks needed to wake up as they quickly righted the ship and started to turn things in their favor.

Slightly over two minutes later, the Ducks got back to level.

Ryan Getzlaf carried a puck into the Kings zone and faked a shot on Jonathan Quick, who lunged out to try to challenge. Getzlaf simply carried the puck around Quick and passed behind him back into the slot where Matt Beleskey tapped the puck into a gaping net.

And then the Ducks kept pushing.

It wasn't lopsided, but the Ducks started pushing and carried the game in terms of possession for a long stretch of time, aided by some penalties from their opponents.

Despite having only one shot on goal at the 11-minute mark of the first period, the Ducks rallied big time and put the next six on frame to outshoot LA 7-5 through the first 20.

Second Period Recap: The Ducks once again kept pushing and pushing and made Jonathan Quick stand on his head to keep the Kings in it.

The Ducks would hit two goalposts this period, the most dangerous of which coming from Nick Bonino who beat Quick and put it off the underside of the crossbar and out. I genuinely do not think he could have come any closer without the puck bouncing off the post and going into the net.

The teams split two power plays in the period, and while Anaheim did virtually nothing with theirs, the Kings had several great chances in nearly two full minutes of possession in the Anaheim end.

All in all, however, the second period was a pretty good one for the Ducks, as twice they managed to repel LA pressure and re-widen the possession gap they had created. It never got super wide, but the Kings are one of the league's best in this regard and Anaheim's ability to stay ahead of them through the frame was extremely encouraging.

The period finished even at 10 shots each, meaning the Ducks still held their two-shot lead at 17-15 after 40.

Third Period Recap: After Los Angeles managed to close the possession gap and end the second period strong, the Ducks once again reset and came out firing in the third.

The possession gap quickly widened again, and as logic would dictate, shot attempts lead to goals.

And that is exactly what the Ducks got.

Teemu Selanne found his way around Matt Greene and put a nifty little backhand move on Jonathan Quick before shoving the puck five-hole. Honda Center erupted and the Ducks led 2-1.

Then score effects happened. As the game came closer and closer to ending, the Kings predictably got the much greater amount of offense time.

Jonas Hilller made a spectacular save on Justin Williams to keep the Ducks ahead as the time slowly got lower and lower and lower.

Then Bryan Allen happened.

With about 15 seconds remaining, the Ducks defenseman under no pressure chucked the puck right into the midsection of an attacking King with the goaltender pulled, which gifted LA possession back.

The Kings cycled the puck back and got it to the front of the net where Marian Gaborik, left completely untouched, batted the puck out of midair past Hiller to tie the game with seven seconds remaining. Who missed their coverage? You guessed it: Bryan Allen.

A game that should have been over was instead headed for extra time. The Kings earned 17 shots in the third period to the Ducks 11.

Overtime Recap: The Ducks appeared to shake off the late tying goal and came out looking pretty good. The Ducks got the first several really good attempts in on Jonathan Quick. Cam Fowler had a pretty spin-o-rama shot that the Kings goaltender denied, and Corey Perry also had a dangerous attempt.

That's not to say the Kings were anemic themselves, as Jonas Hiller had to stand tall to two brilliant chances set up from Drew Doughty on LA's best shift of sustained possession of the frame.

Devante Smith-Pelly would have the best Ducks chance of the extra frame when the Ducks pounced on a high turnover from the Kings inside their blueline and fed the puck to a wide-open DSP, who stickhandled but could not elevate the puck over a sprawled Jonathan Quick.

With all of these missed golden chances there was just this nagging feeling that this game was not going to end well and it didn't.

The Ducks once again turned a puck over in their defensive zone where it bounced right to a wide-open Anze Kopitar. While his shot initially went wide, Marian Gaborik got to the side of the net where he tipped it past Jonas Hiller.

Game over. Ducks lose 3-2 and trail the series 1-0.

**********

The Good: This was the best game the Ducks have played against LA the entire year. They looked for the most part fantastic. They limited LA's possession, even out-Fenwicking the Kings right up until about the midway point of the third period (yay, score effects!). They had spectacular chances and hit three goalposts, including one from Bonino that could not have been any closer without going into the net. Teemu Selanne played possibly his best game of the season, looking borderline vintage at times. Jonas Hiller was absolutely fantastic when he was called upon as well, making this a very confidence-inspiring game for him I'm sure. Jonathan Quick saved LA's bacon several times in the OT session, which unsurprisingly led to the Kings capitalizing on their first really quality chance of the session. An absolute bitch of a loss.

The Bad: The Ducks were still guilty of overpassing at times, particularly on their power play that went 0-for-4, and didn't even get a shot on goal on two of their opportunities. Likewise their inability to bury any of their huge chances in overtime cost them. Execution of opportunities is key, tonight it wasn't fully there.

The Ugly: Defensive. Zone. Turnovers. The cause of all three Los Angeles goals tonight were either giveaways from the Anaheim defense, or takeaways by Los Angeles. At that point you are shooting yourself in the foot, and tonight it cost the Ducks a win they deserved completely (and also home ice).

**********

3rd Icehole: The goalpost. The Ducks hit three of them. Had any one of them gone an inch the other way the Ducks would have been in zero trouble at all at the end of this game. Wouldn't have even mattered.

2nd Icehole: Hampus Lindholm looked extremely nervous for most of the night, and made some very uncharacteristic plays that resulted in a good number of turnovers or missed passes.

1st Icehole: This one is blatantly obvious: Bryan Allen cost the Ducks this game. Not only did he give up one of the Kings best chances in regulation by throwing a lackluster wrist shot right into the shin pads of Dustin Brown that turned into a 2-on-1 the other way, but the late game tying goal was entirely his fault as well. Allen had a good several seconds to get the puck out of the Ducks end but instead fired the puck right into the midsection of Mike Richards. With the entire blue line to hit and nobody pressuring him, Bryan Allen still committed a turnover. And then to top it off Allen was slow to pick up Marian Gaborik on the far side of the net, as he banged the puck home. Two horrendous, egregious defensive errors on one shift and the Ducks lose home ice. Goat horns, dude.

Game Two: Monday, May 5th at 7PM

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