First Period Recap: As it we all expected of this playoff series between the freeway rivals to be, the game got pretty chippy as soon as the puck dropped. There was a fair amount of pushing, slashing, shoving, physical play, and words exchanged between the two southern California teams.
The game began with the Kings starting the puck possession. Kings cycled it around testing Frederik Andersen early on.
I guess Bruce Boudreau had a little talk with Ryan Getzlaf, voicing his opinion that the Captain had much more to to give. So Getzlaf set out to make his presence on the ice known this time around. He forced a turnover on Jarret Stoll. It looked nearly identical to the Game 1 play where Getzlaf drew out Kings netminder Jonathan Quick way out of the blue paint, only to set up a pass for Matt Beleskey rushing down the ice. It was essentially the same play, but without the same result on the scoreboard.
The physicality of the game increased by every minute, so it was only a matter of time a penalty be called. The Ducks took the first man advantage when Trevor Lewis sat for interference. Up to this point, the Ducks only scored one power play goal, by Patrick Maroon. After Game 2, the Ducks reiterated the need to get in front of the net and create a presence in front of the Jonathan Quick. After cycling it around, the first opportunity came off of Corey Perry's stick tipping the blue line shot wide. The Ducks did not waste more time with needless cycling. The cycle allowed Maroon to wait right in front of the crease while Perry looked to float down the middle of the zone. Getzlaf fed the puck to Patrick right in front of the LA goaltender, and a quick pass found the sweet spot of Perry's stick who deposited it home for his first goal of the series. In a beautiful power play, the Ducks started on what they set out to do.
Energized after opening the scoring, the Ducks began to a push. As many chances as the Kings got, the Ducks also had their share. Recently inserted back into the line-up, Kyle Palmieri picked up a loose puck for a breakaway, only to be stopped by an extremely aggressive Quick. Teemu Selanne and Matthieu Perrault also had their share of chances up the ice on rushes, but neither had the finishing touch. The best chance came off a rush where Selanne dropped a pass for Perrault streaking behind him. Perrault toe-dragged it to the middle of the ice for a great scoring chance, but Quick equally read the move and absorbed the shot. To add to the energy, Beleskey laid a fantastic one on Drew Doughty.
The Kings also had their chances throughout the period. On the 4-on-4 after both Justin Williams and Devante Smith-Pelly sat in the penalty box, the Kings forecheck kept extended possession of the puck. Drew Doughty would have also had an odd man rush opportunity if not for Hampus Lindholm hustling to cover the trailing Lewis. Also, one of Francois Beauchemin's clearing attempts landed right onto Slava Voynov's stick forcing Andersen to make a big save.
The Ducks' push caused the Kings to commit a few turnovers in the neutral zone giving lines offensive opportunities. Perrault and Selanne had a couple of shots thanks to the recently recalled Sami Vatanen boosting the blue line. Even Lindholm chipped in offensively as he attempted to create rebounds for both Selanne and Perrault. The Kings found the speed of both Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg challenging as the Ducks were able to win those board battles and cycle around the net.
Understandably, having not played since being pulled in Game 6 in Dallas, Andersen did look a bit shaky in net. He let out some fat rebounds off his leg pad saves, which were fortunately clearly quickly by the collapsing defense of the Ducks. But he did his job and saved all nine shots on goal.
Despite the fairly even period, the Ducks left the ice up by one thanks to the once-elusive power play goal.
Second Period Recap: Cogliano began the period with a quick break darting through the neutral zone and greeting Quick with the period's first shot. The careless puck handling by the Kings led to a few bids by the Ducks. Quick had to bail out Kyle Clifford due to a turnover right in front of the LA net. Perry centered a pass to Getzlaf who went wide of the net. Silfverberg drop passed to Vatanen for a one-timer.
But the Ducks' momentum soon slowed when the Kings got the man advantage after DSP's careless high stick. The next play was almost a repeat of the Ducks PP with the same result. Anze Kopitar found Marian Gaborik down low for a one time pass to a WIDE OPEN Jeff Carter in the slot. Once again, the game was tied, each team scoring on their respective power plays.
And just like in the first period with the Ducks, the Kings found a similar push after scoring the game-tying goal. Despite letting out some large rebounds, the Great Dane did not allow another puck past him. And the defensive clearing by the Ducks during this game was by far one of the best of the season.
The neutral zone turnovers committed by both teams was quite notable. The turnovers caused both teams to feel the pressure in their own end.
The ice opened up on a 4-on-4 play with Beauchemin heading off for interference and Tyler Toffoli heading off for holding. On the Kings' possession, Drew Doughty was caught hooking, giving the Ducks another power play opportunity, this time 4-on-3. After taking a timeout to regroup, Getzlaf led the Ducks on the cycle. With the Ducks closing in, Quick prepared himself for the one-timer from Getzlaf. Vatanen's lone bid ricocheted off a Kings' stick. Both initial penalties ended, leaving the Ducks on a 5-on-4 advantage. With the Kings tied up in the neutral zone, Nick Bonino took away the puck and skated for a 2-on-1 rush with Selanne. Drawing both the defender and netminder to him, a quick touch pass to Selanne was all the 43-year old needed to tap it the go-ahead goal.
The last couple minutes saw another trading of chances as each team exploited the other's turnovers. After Cogliano forced a turnover in the Kings' zone, he found Saku Koivu who eventually found the last linemate Silfverberg for an open shot. Similarly on the other side, Lindholm's turnover led to a scary forecheck sequence by LA, only to be bailed by Andersen.
The Ducks once again skated off to their locker rooms one goal up, 2-1.
Third Period Recap: Down by one goal, the Kings came out roaring and thirsty for blood. On the first shift, Ironman Cogliano went down and was slow to get up after taking some contact on the leg by Clifford. He skated off and missed a couple of shifts, but what can we say other than--HE-IS-IRONMAN (or at the very least, he has a pretty impressive ironman streak to continue.)
The Ducks had a couple of bids early on. Finding himself alone with the puck in the offensive zone, Palmieri simply drove to the net. Bonino centered a pass for DSP from behind the net but DSP couldn't get the puck to settle. Feeling the effects of the fountain of youth, Selanne quickly whipped a shot off the faceoff that Quick easily absorbed.
Thanks in large part to some mishandled turnovers by the Ducks, the Kings managed to cycle it around and wreak havoc in front of Andersen. Though Beleskey did finally chip the puck off the boards for the clear, he took a pretty hard hit by none other than mother-f****ing Dustin Brown. He immediately headed to the locker room and did not return.
Not long after, multiple Ducks turnovers once again allowed the Kings to exploit the scrambling Ducks. Perrault lost his stick leaving the Ducks further shorthanded momentarily. The chaos that was caused in front of Andersen had him sliding and sprawling from post to post. With Andersen slow to react, Voynov had a wide open area but fortunately hit the side of the net. Unfortunately, the reason for Andersen's slow reaction became apparent when he signaled to be in pain. It looked like his right leg got caught under him during the sequence. Limping slowly off the ice along with the trainer, Jonas Hiller was out to close another road playoff game.
Getzlaf found Selanne with a long pass down the ice. Selanne couldn't get much on the back hand but DSP nearly got the rebound. With only five minutes left, the Ducks looked to defend their lead with quick dumps and safe plays. But Ben Lovejoy and Cogliano caught the Kings on a line change. After receiving back the pass from Cogliano, Lovejoy beat the unsuspecting Quick with a beauty of a topshelf shot. 3-1.
Quick abandoned his net with two minutes left. Off the draw, Hiller denied Carter. Perry had a perfect opportunity to score his second with an empty netter but missed as he broke his stick. And so with the missed empty netter, it was only appropriate for the hockey gods to make things more exciting by allowing Mike Richards to bat a bouncing puck out of the air and off the post past Hiller. 3-2.
Fortunately, the Ducks did manage to learn to hold the one goal lead in the dying seconds as opposed to Game 1 [Ed. Note: Bryan Allen wasn't on the ice to seal the victory. YAY! -CK]. So while the Ducks struggled in the last few seconds, what matters was the final score of Ducks winning 3-2.
The Good: Finally--A good solid win as a result of a good solid game from the Ducks. Firstly, 2 for 2 on the powerplay?! Secondly, the Ducks won those battle along the boards and behind the net. The Kings' offense of dumping was not as effective because the Ducks made sure to regain possession of those pucks. Third, this game was by far one of the best in that the Ducks defense did not hesitate to clear those loose pucks in front of the net. Though Andersen did let out some fat rebounds, the Ducks did a great job in collapsing, pushing out the Kings players, and clearing the puck. Fourth, the Ducks did exactly what they set out to do--to challenge Quick with every shot. They crashed the net, the screened the goaltender, they created traffic....Against a goaltender like Quick, these tactics were the answer. While the Kings did outpossess the Ducks and had more SOGs, the Ducks were not far behind. It was a solid 60 minutes, played at the Staples Center no less.
The Bad: Really?!! The last sequence of events in the dying 30 seconds of the game was just bad. I think we all had a momentary flash of the final seven seconds of Game 1 back at the Honda Center. This happens EVERY SINGLE TIME the Ducks fail to clear--whether its in the second period or in the last 30 seconds of the game.
The Ugly: Injuries suck. Post-season injuries can be devastating. First it was Matt Beleskey who went to the locker room clearly shaken after being crunched by none other than Dustin Douchebag Brown. He is currently listed as "day-to-day" with a lower body injury. Then after a frightful sequence of missed opportunities (Kings) and luck (Ducks), Frederik Andersen limped off the ice clearly with the dreaded "lower body injury." He was clearly in discomfort as he reached down under the pads of his right leg. It looked like he pulled or strained his leg or his hip. This is a guy that has seen his share of success at the Staples Center...it's a big loss for the Ducks considering Jonas Hiller's record at 0-3-5 record at the Staples Center. Andersen is said to be "day-to-day"--God only knows what that really means. But considering that Hiller hasn't actually been bad against the Kings, the Ducks will have to continue what they began in this game.
Next Game: Game 4 on Saturday, May 10th, 6:30PM PST, back in the pits of hell and smog of the Staples Center