Kings' streak snapped by resurgent Ducks

Game 59: Ducks 4, Kings 2

All good things come to an end. Good thing it's only February.

First off, forgive me for the tardiness of this blog entry. My son spilled some coffee on my laptop, and I spent the morning disassembling it to dry it out. That first sentence was all I had at 9 a.m. Tuesday...

I attended Monday's game against the Anaheim Ducks with a friend of mine, sitting with the fans from LetsGoKings.com. Once named by The Hockey News as one of the things any hockey fan should do before they die, going into the Honda Center en masse is hilarious. Especially seeing the regulars bristle at seeing you in your Kings jersey, I now know what it must feel like for a Wings fan at Staples.

I can say this: seeing a Kings fan in a throwback jersey is a lot cooler than seeing a Duck fan sporting their "throwback" jerseys. I'm not a fan of the new Anaheim Spork design anyway, but it's way better than the Disney jersey.

My friend hadn't seen a hockey game in a while, and it's too bad it wasn't a better game. The Kings just came out flat for the first two periods. The Ducks, well-rested from three days off, came into the game with a lot of intensity. They beat the Kings to pucks all night, kept the pressure on, and outplayed them all game.

Coach Terry Murray continue to jigger lines in hopes to kickstart the offense. But placing Brown with Kopitar has proven to be a bad fit in the past, and that hasn't changed with Brad Richardson on the wing. Kopitar paired with Ryan Smyth isn't a bad thing though, as the two hooked up in the second period after a Ducks penalty expired.

And speaking of Smyth, every Kings fan in the arena was holding their breath when they saw Smyth limp toward the bench and had to be helped to the locker room. When he came back, a sigh of relief calmed everyone's nerves. The guy is nails and showed it tonight, battling through injury.

And one doesn't like to root for injury, but Ryan Getzlaf's injury allowed the Kings to climb back into the game. There's a hope that if he can't go to the Olympics, that Captain Canada Smyth would replace him. Crappy situation, but what can you do?

Jonathan Quick failed in his bid to tie Mario Lessard's record for wins on the season, although I don't think anyone doubts it will eventually be his. The story of the night has to be Jonas Hiller, who turned back chance after chance by the Kings all game. He was zeroed in all game, and he had to be. The Kings have proven to be deadly later in the game the last nine games.

Other than the lackluster showing on the ice, I had a good time sitting with other fans in another team's house. (And just to make it clear whose house it was, the Ducks played this long video before the game claiming the Honda Center as 'Their House.') There's a unity that one feels being surrounded by the enemy deep in their territory.

There were even some of the Kings' Ice Girls in attendance, there on their day off to support the team. And even though they were in their civilian clothes, they were way hotter than their Ducks dopplegangers. Just sayin'...

The one thing I can say is the Pond has way better music, lots of hard heavy metal. Not that I have anything against Lady GaGa... but come on, Staples Center, get with it. But with the good comes the ridiculous: flying inflatable sheep. The jokes were flying fast are furious about the 15-foot balloon that chugged along the Honda Ponda and crapped out coupons.

And let me make a deal with all you Ducks fans out there (I know you read Life In Hockeywood, because all your team blogs suck...) Can we have a moratorium on calling the Kings "Queens?" Other than the latent homophobic vibe it has, it's just lazy. You're better than that, Duck fans. In return, I promise never to make another "Flying-V" crack again. Deal?

• AP: Ducks snap Kings’ 9-game winning streak
Anaheim dominated the second period despite several sparkling saves by workhorse Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who couldn’t bail out all of his teammates’ defensive lapses.
• LA Times: One streak ends, another goes on
It took every bit of determination the Ducks had to subdue the Kings, 4-2, at the Honda Center and set a record of their own with a 10-game home winning streak.
• LA Kings: Kings' streak snapped
The Kings lost their winning streak, and their hold on fourth place in the Western Conference – they’re now two points behind Phoenix, and three points ahead of sixth-place Colorado – on Monday night largely because lapses caught up with them.
• NHL.com:  Getzlaf injured in Ducks' win over Kings
Moments after an apparent power-play goal by Perry was waved off and Getzlaf skated to the dressing room, Saku Koivu beat Jonathan Quick (29 saves) at 6:24 of the second to make it 3-1.
They said it

“That was one of those games where Anaheim had a lot of energy and a lot of emotion. We fell a little short. I thought the nine-game winning streak was good, but now we’ve got to look at this game and learn something from it and get a new one again.” – Anze Kopitar, on the end of the winning streak
“We shouldn’t have any excuses or anything like that. It shouldn’t be fatigue or anything. We just weren’t there to play when we should be, and that’s why we lost.” – Drew Doughty, on what went wrong
"Tonight, we rallied in the third period, but Anaheim brought their `A’ game here today and we didn’t match it. They were carrying the game to us. We were chasing it, in the first and second period in particular, and we didn’t manage the puck through the middle of the ice. Just too many times, we let them come back at us with a lot of speed of the transition.” – Terry Murray, on the game
Los Angeles Kings right wing Brandon Segal, middle, and center Oscar Moller, right, celebrate after Moller scored a goal in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Feb. 8, 2010. Anaheim Ducks defenseman Steve Eminger is at left. (AP Photo/Lori Shepler)
Around the Kingdom

• LA Kings Outsider: All Good Things Must...
What happened to the line combos tonight?  What happened to the combos that got us the nine-game win streak?

• ESPNLosAngeles.com's Tom Murray: Post Game: Kings @ Ducks
As we said throughout the game, tonight's 4-2 win by the Ducks over the Kings, was a perfect execution of the pre-game plan proposed by Ducks coach Randy Carlyle--create traffic in front of the Kings goal and make the hard plays through the neutral zone.
• HockeyBuzz's Matthew Barry: A Perfect 10... For Anaheim. 4-2 Over Kings
The Kings threw everything they could at Jonas Hiller in the 3rd period. 18 shots, but Hiller was well rested and up to the task stopping 35 of 37.
• LAKingsNews.com: The Kings' 9-game win streak ends against Anaheim
File this game under you can’t win them all. More importantly, learn from it. These two points were just as valuable as the last one. Phoenix won tonight. Colorado did as well. In a race to the playoffs, no team, not even one in fuego as our Kings, can take a night off.
• Deep Inside The Kings: Quick Start: Less(ard) is more
Mario Lessard’s 35 victories was and is truly remarkable. He played his entire career with the Kings, which will always endear him to this fan. But the time has come to pass the torch.
Across the aisle, the Anaheim viewpoint

• OC Register: Ducks finally solve Kings
But the latest victory could come with a major cost as leading scorer Ryan Getzlaf, who had scored his 15th goal at the 3:27 mark of the second period, suffered a sprained left ankle nearly three minutes later and left the game for good.
• OC Register's Ducks Blog: Kings see different Ducks team
There was also a lot of trash talking in the stands with an inordinate number of Kings fans filling out the announced crowd of 16,033.
• Anaheim Calling: Open Gameday Recap Thread Kings @ Ducks
Still, being able to solve the Kings might go a long way to helping the Ducks' confidence considering how the Kings had found so many ways to  beat them.  Jonathan Quick made some phenomenal saves early on, but was eventually solved by Teemu Selanne while the Ducks had a 2-man advantage.
• Anaheim Ducks' Duck's Blog
It's always gratifying beating the Kings, sure, but that one felt just a little juicier -- and for a number of reasons.
Peeping the dailies

 

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