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Ducks vs. Kings MORNING THOUGHTS: Four-Way Tie

Just keep winning

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Anaheim Ducks Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks got a crucial 2-1 win last night against the rival Los Angeles Kings. Not only did they win in regulation, meaning they get two points and the Kings get none. They also moved into a four-way tie with the Kings, the Minnesota Wild, and the Colorado Avalanche for the final wild card spot. This was a huge playoff-swing for the Ducks and for the Kings.

The Ducks are in need of wins as the season continues to get shorter. They got another one last night catching a Pacific rival, and closed the gap a little more on a playoff spot and the third Pacific Division spot. On the opposite end, the Kings failed last night. Instead of pushing away, the Kings fell further down with their sixth straight loss.

It was an intense game from start to finish that left everyone holding their breath at the end. While it didn’t have three fights in a span of four seconds, it had that grinding, hard-hitting, big-bodied game that the Ducks and Kings usually display. With some amazing saves by John Gibson and Jonathan Quick, exhilarating third period goals including one from the King, and a hatred for each other, Friedman sums it up best.

Best and Worst

Best - The Ducks’ depth is present. Randy Carlyle has stumbled upon a great line combination of Adam Henrique, Ondrej Kase, and Nick Ritchie. They have been able to generate great forechecks and scoring chances to compliment, and light the burden, of the first two lines. This gives the Ducks three lines that threaten other teams, which not a lot of teams can say they have.

Worst - The Ducks still gave up too many turnovers, one of which resulted in the King’s lone goal. While they seem to have reduced the amount, they still manage to turnover the puck at the worst times and John Gibson can’t always be expected to bail them out.

Three Stars of the Game

3. Andrew Cogliano - Cogs has always been a fan favorite of Ducks fans. Tonight he returned to the team after serving his 2-game suspension and fans galore put together signs of encouragement for him. The Honda Center also put together a tribute video for him. He responded by assisting on the game-winning goal.

2. John Gibson - Gibson stared across the rink and watched as Quick played out of his mind, especially on a back-to-back, making some incredible saves early on and often. Gibson needed to step up to the test of beating Quick when he’s on his best game, and he did exactly that. 30 saves on 31 shots should always get your team a win.

1. Ryan Kesler - The KingSlayer was back at it again. Had a beautiful tip to beat Quick and deliver the game winner. Enough said.

The Ducks will try and make it three in a row at Honda Center Sunday night against the San Jose Sharks at 6pm PST.