Something had to give in Monday's second matchup of the season between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, with both teams entering play with active winning streaks on the line. It was the Kings who kept their streak alive, beating the Ducks 5-2 for their fourth consecutive win, ending Anaheim's streak at six.
The Southern California rivals played to a stalemate through the first two periods, before Los Angeles pulled away with three third-period goals, improving its record to 9-6-2 on the season.
The Kings trailed twice by one goal in the second period, but fought back both times from a deficit. Anaheim took a 1-0 lead on Andrew Cogliano's fifth goal of the season just 13 seconds into the second period, but the Kings would answer quickly, when Dustin Penner tipped a pass by Jarret Stoll past Anaheim's rookie goaltender, Viktor Fasth. The goal came just 12 seconds after Kings forward Jordan Nolan, and Ducks forward Sheldon Souray dropped the gloves (video shown below). Nolan got a few good licks in during the scrap, injecting some life into what was a fairly slow game through just over a period.
The Ducks took the lead back on Saku Koivu's power-play goal at 5:51 of the middle period, with Kings captain Dustin Brown in the penalty box for tripping.
The Kings came back again, when Brown evened the score just before the end of the middle period, launching a slap shot off the crossbar and in for his fifth goal of the year. The assists went to Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams at 2:07 of the second period.
Slava Voynov put the Kings ahead for good at 4:46 of the third period, blasting a one timer between the arm and body of Fasth. Anze Kopitar circled the net just long enough to find Voynov with a one-time pass, and the young defenseman buried it for his third goal of the season. Kopitar and Brown each earned their second point of the night on what would end up being the game-winning goal.
Just over a minute later, the Kings scored again on their first power play opportunity of the game. After a series of effortless passes between Kopitar and Voynov, defenseman Jake Muzzin controlled the puck and beat Fasth with a snapshot 15 seconds into the five on four. The goal was Muzzin's second of his career, and his third point (2 goals, 1 assist) of the season. Kopitar's assist was his third of the game, and team-leading 15th point (5 goals, 10 assists) of the season.
Forward Jeff Carter added an empty-net goal with 21 seconds remaining, for his team-leading tenth goal on the year, and fourth in the last four games.
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made 24 saves for his third straight win, improving his overall record to 6-5-2. Following a rough start to the season, Quick has now allowed just four goals over the last three games.
Following an 8-0-0 start to his NHL career, Fasth finally lost a game. The 30-year-old rookie became just the third goalie in league history to win the first eight-or-more starts of his career. Fasth stopped just 20 of 24 shots in Monday's loss, after posting a 1.78 goals against average and .933 save percentage in his first 9 appearances. The Ducks signed him to a 2-year $5.8 million contract extension last week, one month into his NHL career.
The Kings and Ducks will meet four times during the 2013 lockout-shortened season. After two games, the freeway series is tied at 1-1. The Ducks won the first meeting 7-4, in Anaheim back on Feb. 2.
The Kings will host the Detroit Red Wings (9-7-3) Wednesday at 7 PM PST.
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