Excluding Patrick Eaves, who has no timetable for return, the Anaheim Ducks were able to ice a full healthy roster against the Los Angeles Kings - something they’ve haven’t been able to do before. And with a healthy Anaheim team, better opportunities to win follow. The Ducks capitalized on their opportunities as they beat the Kings 4-2 in regulation.
This was a crucial game to come back to after having their NHL-mandated bye week. Not only are the Ducks battling several teams for a playoff spot. They also are crawling their way back in to the Pacific Division race, and beating the rival Kings would be a huge swing for them. The message from coach Randy Carlyle was simple.
“We need points. Every game is very, very important. Against division foes and Western Conference foes, they’re more important. Four-point games.”
The Ducks have struggled to keep consistent play throughout a game, often letting opponents take control of stretches of time, or entire periods. This game wasn’t like that however. The Ducks were able to play their game the entire 60 minutes. Even when the Kings made a late push for a comeback, the Ducks were able to stay in control.
Their defensive core, led by the tandem of Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson, played excellent. They limited opportunities, won puck battles, and turned them into strong breakouts. The offense followed suit, getting to the loose pucks quickly and generating scoring chances. It was a great night for the Ducks third line, consisting of Nick Ritchie, Adam Henrique, and Ondrej Kase. Ritchie made a key steal from Quick behind the net which led to a goal, and Kase had his first career 3-point night, including scoring his 10th goal of the season.
BEST and WORST
BEST - The Ducks finally have depth on their team again. It showed with the third line generating the majority of scoring chances. With the top two lines now in-tact, the Ducks have some serious depth scoring to work with.
Worst - In a game where the Ducks grabbed the lead early and never gave it up, beating their most-hated rival, there’s not much to critique. The one thing to note is that Andrew Cogliano got called for a late hit in the first period. He will have a hearing today regarding the hit, which would really suck if it turned into something.
Three Stars of the Game
3. Fighting - Three fights broke out during the game. All of them happening in a row. All of them happening in the first 3 minutes of the game. You got to love Ducks-Kings rivalry.
2. Ryan Kesler - Kesler now has 4 points in his last five games, and his goal against the Kings was a beauty. Batting the puck down, scoring against the league’s best penalty kill, and then taunting the crowd.
1. Ondrej Kase - First career 3-point night for Kase, and he now has double-digit goals on the season. He’s already doubled his goals scored from last year and we’re only halfway through the season.
The Ducks will be back on the ice Monday at 12pm PST as they face the Colorado Avalanche.