Kings snatch victory from Ducks' beaks

Jack Johnson #3 of theLos Angeles Kings checks Evgeny Artyukhin #24 of the Anaheim Ducks into the boards during the game on December 1, 2009 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)
Game 28: Kings 4, Ducks 3

The Kings and the Ducks started their season-long battle for supremacy of Southern California. The Kings are trying to find answers to maintain their lofty aspirations of the playoffs while injuries have become a factor.

Funny thing about working in a sports department of a newspaper is the alliances that occur once a game starts for a particular sport. You could be high-fiving a colleague over Pete Carroll's decision to run up the score against UCLA, but then stare daggers at them once the puck drops between L.A. and Anaheim. At the end of the day, it's all in good fun. But the trash talk and mocking never ceases. After all, there might not be cheering in the press box, but that doesn't mean journalists can't be fans.

My station is about as far away from a TV as one could get if you didn't work in the bathroom. So, I've grown accustomed to listening to Nick and Daryl on the radio, keeping everyone informed of the latest King score. But since the Kings are playing the Ducks (and the Lakers were beating the snot out of New Orleans), the one TV in sports was tuned into the game. But like I said, I'm a long ways away from the screen (almost as far away as the Staples Center press box), so I was listening to the radio again.

Thing is, there's a delay for the TV broadcasts, so I actually hear the action before it appears on the TV. And I've made it a habit of pumping my fist or giving an emphatic "yes" when the Kings score. This annoys everyone else who is working and watching the game, because I "give it away" to everyone else who's watching it on Fox. So I've had to alter my habit, blurting out "Who wants to bet me Wayne Simmonds scores right here?" Finally, I've settled on the 5-second rule, where I wait until the play just about happens, then I cheer, allowing everyone to look up to see a score.

I didn't have to wait long, when Scott Parse scored a quick goal early in the first to the Kings a 1-0 lead. I did it again later in the period when Justin Williams scored a power play goal. The Kings were clicking on all cylinders, and you could tell some players were really efforting to put the puck in the net. One of those guys was Williams, who snapped an 8-game scoring slump. Another player was Dustin Brown, who's mired in a 10-game goal scoring slump. He got the assist on Williams' goal, and eventually led the team in shots.

The Ducks scored when Corey Perry scored to extend his franchise-record scoring streak to 19 games. He's good. As much as I enjoy seeing the young Kings develop, it's also a double-edged sword seeing a player like Perry evolve. Put it to you this way, Sidney Crosby had a 19-game point streak last season. I want to like Perry, but the foul odor of Anaslime makes me grimace.

When Randy Jones scored in the second, I figured this game was over. The Kings were outplaying the Ducks at every turn, and they were executing beautifully. They were outshhoting the Ducks, they were killer in the faceoff dots, and they weren't giving the puck away. But I figured wrong. Someone turned on the Ducks, and they came back with a vengeance.

Ryan Whitney and Todd Marchant came back and scored two goals to tie it up, and Jonas Hiller started making miraculous saves. It was getting down to the nitty-gritty time when Jack Johnson's blast from the point deflects off of Brad Richardson's stick to lift the Kings with 2 minutes left. Then it was nail-biting time, as the Ducks made several furious attempts to tie it.

I was adhering to my no-cheer rule, but couldn't hide my frustration/elation to everyone around me, as I was grunting and stifling my expressions, causing everyone to stop and just watch the last two minutes. I shouldn't have worried, because the Kings were 9-0 when leading after 2 periods. Make that 10-0. I raised my arms in victory, as the final buzzer sounded. That's when they flipped it immediately to the Lakers game. Sigh, no love.

The Ducks came up short, and the Kings grab Game 1 of the newly christened Subway Freeway Series. I was wondering, couldn't the Kings get JetBlue on board as co-sponsors of the series and make it the Subway Freeway Airway Series? How how about the Planes, Trains and Automobiles Series? Oh, never mind... it's late and I have a podcast to edit. Speaking of podcast, my partner Jesse Cohen thinks the series should be named the SoCal Sowchow. What say you?

• AP: Kings score late in third to down struggling Ducks
    “The Ducks have a good team over there, so it helps when you jump on them real quick,” Kopitar said. “We were fortunate to score a quick two goals. I thought we controlled the game from there. They got back in the third period, but we didn’t lose it. We kept going and we got rewarded in the end.”
• Daily News: Kings clips Ducks' wings with late goal
    "It's not the most glamorous way to win, but it's effective and it wears a team down," said Kings defenseman Sean O'Donnell, who's worn both uniforms in a 15-year career. "It's the same M.O. for a lot of teams. You want to get it behind their 'D,' make them work, cycle and wear a team down."
• LA Times: Kings win Round 1 against the Ducks
    Their performances in a 4-3 victory by the Kings at the Honda Center were snapshots of the reasons Kings fans are infusing more optimism into their natural caution and Ducks fans continue to shake their heads at a team that can alternate world-class skill with moments of singular stupidity.
• LA Times' Helene Elliott: Ducks and Kings face off at crucial time for both
    The Kings have younger legs and a better defense from top to bottom, but their inexperience in goal and lack of finishers up front are holding them back.
• LAKings.com: Kings outlast Ducks
    Brad Richardson entered the game without a point this season. His previous distinction had been as the player hit hardest when a case of flu ran through the team in mid-October. But Richardson had been playing well of late, and when the Kings needed a boost the most, Richardson was there.
• NHL.com:  Late goal gives Kings win over Ducks
    The game-winner was originally awarded to Jack Johnson -- who had twoassists -- but was later given to Richardson after replays showed hedid in fact touch the puck. It was his first goal of the season.
The Los Angeles Kings celebrate Randy Jones' second period goal against the the Anaheim Ducks during the game on December 1, 2009 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)
They said it
    "We kind of had to mix lines there when (Brandon Segal) left the game there. I was just kind of playing with whomever ou there, so it was nice to get some ice time with some different guys, and we got it going pretty well." – Brad Richardson on his strong play with different linemates.
    “Probably not. I think he’s fitting in pretty good right now with the role that he’s in with Handzus, more of that checking role. He’s going into every game with a checking mentality, and as a result of that, you end up with scoring opportunities. I like where the fit is right now." – Terry Murray on whether Simmonds could move up to a higher-profile role.
Around the Kingdom

• The Throne Room: Finding Ways to Win
    I found the score of tonight’s 4-3 Kings’ triumph in Anaheim to be a bit misleading. While it took Brad Richardson (that guy finally scored?) deflecting a Jack Johnson shot past Jonas Hiller with under 3 minutes remaining to decide the game’s outcome, it really wasn’t that close. Perhaps it would be fair to call the Ducks opportunistic tonight, as they took advantage of the bounces that went their direction and were close to gaining a single point from a game they had no business being in.
• HockeyBuzz's Matthew Barry: Kings Win Nail Biter in Anaheim 4-3
    When the Ducks and King play, it's always a lot of fun. Tonight was no different. There were hits, a fight, power play goals and in the end, The Ducks have been hot lately with a 4-1-1 homestand (their only regulation loss by one goal), but Brad Richardson picked a fantastic time to score his first POINT of the season as he tipped in a Jack Johnson blast with just under 3 minutes left
• LAKingsNews.com: Hunting season has begun
    This game taught me two things about the Kings.  Wayne Simmonds is a world-beater, and Jack Johnson is stronger than everyone.  Simmonds was all over the ice, hounding every poor Duck soul that got in his way, while Johnson cut more Ducks down to size than a chef in Peking.
• Battle Of California: I was editor of the school magazine
     Last week the Anaheim Ducks had KISS Night and it struck me that KISS was the perfect band for the Ducks: they suck, they're over-commercialized and their fans eat it up because they're idiots.
• The Royal Half: Subway. Sub what? Sub why?
    Subway has come on as the corporate sponsor for the made-up "Freeway Face-Off" crosstown rivalry between the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks ... but now... they've made it even more confusing for fans. You can't take the subway from Los Angeles to Anaheim. You can barely take the subway anywhere in Los Angeles that you need to go. You have to take the Freeway.
• The Royal Half: Toasted Sub
    The Kings unusual policy of torturing their young prospects reared its ugly head again tonight, as Half-Jew and All-Energy Brandon Segal went missing after the first period. I have a feeling the players in Manchester are cutting the phone lines around the office for fear of getting called up to the NHL.
From across the aisle, the Anaheim viewpoint

• OCRegister: Ducks come up short against Kings
    Leave it to the Kings to turn what could have been a splendid homestand for the Ducks into a situation where they're treading water once again.
• OCRegister: Shooting gallery: Ducks by the numbers
    13: Number of giveaways by the Ducks, who had 14 total in the previous two games. The Kings had one giveaway on Tuesday night.
• Anaheim Calling: Open Gameday Recap Thread Kings @ Ducks
    The Ducks finished the homestand at a very average 4-2-1, and have only one victory against Pacific Division opponents. It's probably time for the Ducks to start selling off their assets and start thinking about rebuilding.
• Inside Hockey: Ducks Come Up Short against Kings
    “Every time it seems like we crawl back from a one or two goal deficit," said Ducks forward Bobby Ryan. "We shoot ourselves in the foot late in the game and that’s something we really got to change.”
Message board meltdown

• HFBoards: GDT: DUCKS VS KINGS.. last game of homestand.
    c4cry: Our bottom 6 is absolutely horrible. I'm surprised Parros even sees a shift. He looks gross out there most of the time.
    Jerky Leclerc: The Kings played a more aggressive game. Sadly, this Ducks team is not very tough, mentally and physically.
    jax00: (Evgeny Artyukhin) has the hockey sense of a bowl of catfood.
         Mooseduck: That's not fair to the bowl.
• HFBoards:  The Most Negative Thread Ever Read...Time to Vent
    This team is BAD. (actually i take that back. SOMETHING IS SERIOUSLY WRONG WITH THE TEAM...but i have no idea what it is) Im sry. I know this is the comment where the positive people come in the thread and make their arguments against that statement. Sry, but tonights loss is the last straw. This NEEDED to be a turning point homestand and it wasnt at all. (Ed. note: The Ducks went 4-2-1 during the five-game homestand)
Peeping the dailies



Here's the interview with Brad Richardson, where the team was giving him some good-natured ribbing



<br/><a href="http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?mkt=en-US&brand=foxsports&vid=769b1c72-3f8a-4fe1-8aa8-8087fbdaa2f8" target="_new" title="Kings down Ducks">Video: Kings down Ducks</a>

BallHype: hype it up!
 

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