Two different teams: one that gave us horrible ‘Nam flashbacks to the Randy Carlyle coached style of play, and the new team that actually has its threatening moments.
LA got out to an early lead courtesy of Dustin Brown when the Ducks went back to forgetting how to play defense. Brown was left alone to take a puck and shoot it past a mass of bodies that goaltender Ryan Miller couldn’t track. 1-0 Kings.
The Ducks would strike back, however, when Jonathan Quick tried to clear a puck from behind his net right to the stick of Ryan Getzlaf. The captain caught Daniel Sprong crashing the net and delivered a perfect pass. Sprong put the puck past Quick attempting to scramble back into position to tie the game at one.
After the Sprong goal, the Ducks would go a full 25 minutes between shots on goal. Only two shots in the first period. Excellent.
The Kings would restore their lead in the first period after Korbinian Holzer whiffed a hip-check on Kyle Clifford. He got in alone, dragged the puck and fired it past Ryan Miller for the 2-1 lead.
Carl Grundstrom, the main prospect in the Jake Muzzin trade from the Toronto Maple Leafs who was recalled from Ontario last week, doubled the lead when he received a great pass in full stride from Mario Kempe and dangled around Ryan Miller for a highlight-reel goal. 3-1 Kings and the end of an almost completely lifeless opening frame.
After not even a single shot attempt through the first eight minutes of the second period, the Ducks began to find some life as well as limit the Kings chances. No goals were scored, though, as Anaheim debated if they even wanted to win this game.
Jakob Silfverberg continued his scorching-hot run by bringing the Ducks within one. Protecting the puck behind the net, then taking advantage of Dion Phaneuf losing his footing and Quick low in his net to score his 19th of the season and give him seven points in his last five games.
It wasn’t enough, however, as the Kings held on and got to within five points of the Ducks in the league standings with a 3-2 victory.
The Nashville Predators come to town Tuesday night for the beginning of a run of opponents in playoff position.
Best and Worst
- Jakob Silfverberg still earning that extension: Silfverberg appears as though he will be the only member of the Ducks this season to break the 20 goal barrier. Obviously, that fact isn’t exactly a happy one, but it shows that the Swedish winger is one of the few players who isn’t on track for a career-worst year.
- Ryan Getzlaf controlling the game again: There has been a conspicuous absence of the captain’s tendency to make everyone on the ice play at his level and speed. It’s one of the things that makes him elite, but it had been missing since earlier in the season. Last night showed us that he can still control a game when he wants to.
- Lost to a really bad team: The Ducks have been playing much better of late, sure. But they also just lost to a team that had lost 13 of their last 14 games. Depending on who you are, that was either a beautiful tank move, or a frustrating performance.
- The defense was bad again: Anaheim’s defense has seemingly stabilized since Murray took over, but last night, things kind of fell apart again. Having a third pairing of Korbinian Holzer and Jaycob Megna isn’t exactly a recipe for long-term success, but it would be nice for them to not let this game continue to unravel their defensive play.
3. Drew Doughty
2. Mario Kempe
1. Carl Grundstrom