BlogNation: Ducks, Hiller get better of the Kings

Anaheim Ducks' Bobby Ryan, center, tries to score while being defended by Los Angeles Kings' Drew Doughty, left, and goalie Erik Ersberg during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008. The Ducks won the game 2-0.

GAME 17:
Ducks 2, Kings 0

O.K., so the Kings go from having a four-game win streak coming into weekend, and start the new week with a 2-game slide. But fear not, because the Kings played valiantly, albeit a little tired.

The Kings' new defensive game is very taxing, with players skating harder to get back on D. They are currently tied for third in the league in shots allowed. This could very well be the primary reason why the Kings scoring is down this season. If that's the case, then I'll take it. That means it's a case of conditioning, which will evolve with the team as the season progresses.

The Kings once again outshot their opponents, pumping 14 shots in the first alone at a solid Hiller. I think the two losses were also more about the Kings running into strong goaltending. The game marked the eighth straight game the Kings have outshot their opponents. The last time the Kings didn't have more shots was against the Wings back on Oct. 28.

Kudos for the Kings and Ducks coming together off the ice, with the Samueli Foundation and the Kings Care Foundation each pledging $25,000 to help assist fire victims. I'm sure the view from outside of Southern California may make it look like the entire state is burning down. I can honestly say, as a lifelong resident of California, these fires are the worst I've seen. On the news last night, some fire department flak stated that this was "the worst-case scenario," and I believe it. Ash is thick throughout Long Beach and the South Bay. The sun is orange, and the smell of wildfires still hangs in the air.

Both teams will be accepting donations at their upcoming games Wednesday and Thursday against Alexander Ovechkin. Two games with a high-profile player should be able to raise more awareness and money for the hundreds of displaced families who now have nothing.

• AP: Hiller gets 1st NHL shutout in Ducks’ win

• L.A. Times: After the fire, Ducks' doctor seeks comfort on ice

The day after a wildfire destroyed his Yorba Linda home and left nothing standing but two brick pillars, Craig Milhouse reported for work as the Ducks' team doctor.

"Thank God," Kings defenseman Kyle Quincey said.

Intent on keeping one part of his life the same after the rest was forever changed, Milhouse helped treat a bloody gash on Quincey's left thigh during the third period of the Ducks' 2-0 victory over the Kings at the Honda Center.

(Note: later in Helene's story, it's revealed that the photo on the front page of the L.A. Times' Sunday edition was of Milhouse's garage ablaze. Truly devastating.)

• San Gabriel Valley Tribune: Ducks' youth trumps Kings' in victory

And while the Kings' kids looked sluggish at times in their second game in as many nights, Hiller stole the show. His first NHL shutout made the difference in the Ducks' 2-0 victory before a sellout crowd of 17,174 at Honda Center.

• Yahoo: Kings team report

The penalty kill was a major problem for the Kings last season—they finished last in the league in penalty-kill percentage—but now the power play lacks strength. The Kings went 0-for-5 on the power play Sunday, including a stretch of nearly six consecutive minutes in the first period when they had the man advantage. The Kings scored three power-play goals in their first meeting against Anaheim but have gone a combined 0-for-11 in the last two games against the Ducks.

Looking through purple-hued glasses

• A Queen Among Kings: Boo Ducks; Ducks 2, Kings 0

The whole crosstown rivalry with the Anaheim Ducks is something that I don't get too caught up in, but that doesn't mean that I don't hate the Ducks more than any other team in the league. I do hate them the most, and, for the second day in a row, I'm bummed that the Kings have dropped a game. But the Kings didn't get shutout by a poor showing; they displayed their usual solid play but were actually less able to generate chances when compared to the game yesterday against the Preds.

• The Royal Half: Hot shots

An NHL team can sit there and put 50 shots on net a night, but if they aren't getting 2nd and 3rd chances, they'll never score. Over the past 2 nights, the Kings have fired left and right at the goaltenders they've faced, but struggled to get one into the net. It's always easy to blame someone... and that person is Kyle Calder. Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar are getting the first shots in... then Kyle Calder and his enormous hands of stone blow any chance of putting in a rebound.

• Frozen Royalty: Kings Run Out of Gas At Anaheim

ANAHEIM — Whether it was fatigue or simply not being prepared to play, the Los Angeles Kings put in a lackluster effort in the last half of their game on Sunday, dropping a 2-0 shutout decision to the Anaheim Ducks in front of an announced sellout crowd of 17,174 fans at Honda Center in Anaheim.

• Purple Crushed Velvet: Kings v. Anaheim

Keys of the game: Limit Gauthier's Ice Time - Looks can only take this guy so far.

ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 16: Jonas Hiller #1 of the Anaheim Ducks shows his puck from his first career shutout against the Los Angeles Kings on November 16, 2008 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

From the other side of the ice, the Anaheim view


• Press Box Perspective: Hiller’s First NHL Shutout Ends Ducks Losing Streak

Jonas Hiller stopped all 29 of the Kings’ shots and got his first NHL shutout tonight, ending the Ducks losing streak at 3 games. In my opinion, Hiller (with a save percentage of 90.8% & record of 2-1-1 before tonight’s shutout) has looked a lot better than Giguere (save percentage of 90.5% & record of 7-6-1) this season. Will tonight’s shutout give Hiller a bit more of a chance to play? Time will tell.

• Orange County Register: Ducks grind out 2-0 victory over Kings
Hedican, who signed a free-agent contract with the Ducks on Oct. 23, had been scoreless in nine games until what he called "kind of a Phil Niekro knuckleball" beat Kings goalie Erik Ersberg on the short side.
"I think he didn't expect it right away," Hedican said. "It was kind of wobbling. I'll take 'em any way I can get 'em."
• On the Pond: Ducks Shutout Kings, 2-0
On the ice, it was rivalry as usual in a contest that was far more energetic than the last time the teams met on November 4 at Staples Center.  There was not much more scoring, however.  The Ducks still had to figure out how to get a puck past Erik Ersberg, who has been terrific in goal for the Kings and stopped 24 of 26 shots this evening.  "We played a good team here tonight," said Ersberg.  "We gave it our best effort.  Maybe we ran out of gas a little bit in the end, but we faced a good team today."
 

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