Category Archives: SoCal Salchow

Game 81: Anemic Kings can’t deny Ducks playoff berth

Bobby Ryan #9 and Ryan Getzlaf #15 of the Anaheim Ducks battle against Jarret Stoll #28 of the Los Angeles Kings and Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings during the game at Honda Center on April 8, 2011 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Robert Binder /NHLI via Getty Images)

Teemu Selanne #8 of the Anaheim Ducks controls the puck against the Los Angeles King at Honda Center on April 8, 2011 in Anaheim, California. The Ducks won 2-1 to clinch a berth in the playoffs. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Game 81: Ducks 2, Kings 1

To peep out all the videos online about this game, check out today’s Hockeywood Dailies.

It’s finally happened. Hell has finally frozen over.

In a season that has all three West Coast teams in the playoffs, Canada will only have two representing them in the Stanley Cup playoffs. That is… weird.

The Kings, the Sharks and the Ducks will be playing meaningful games into April for the first time ever. Combine that with the inclusion of Phoenix and possibly Dallas, and that means the entire Pacific Division could be in the playoffs. I’m not entirely sure I’ve even seen a playoff where an entire division made the playoffs.

(EDIT: According to, who cites the Elias Sports Bureau, only one time in the expansion era has every team from the same division made the playoffs. It’s only happened in 1980-81, when the entire Adams Division – Buffalo, Boston, Minnesota, Quebec and Toronto – made it into the top 16 that season.)

Since all three teams on the West Coast made it, I’m calling for someone to quickly pull together a photo of a Sharkducking, a distant relative of Sharktopus. It has the body of a King, the tail of a shark and the buoyancy of a duck. Or maybe the head of a shark wearing a crown on the body of a duck. Or maybe a duck head on a King body with a sharks fin. O.K., maybe not. Really, anything you try to combine will wind up looking like Gypsy from Mystery Science Theater 3000. Damn you, Sharkducking!

I have to give him credit, because his performance has been very impressive his entire career. Teemu Selanne scored two goals to carry the Ducks past the Kings into the playoffs. He now has 50 goals and 109 points in 91 career games against the Kings, which should garner some respect (or as much respect as you can give a Duck.)

The Kings were strong once again on the penalty kill, killing off both of the Ducks’ man-advantage to improve to 49 of their last 51 PK opportunities. But that is tempered by not scoring on the power play, which is sorely missing Anze Kopitar. They are now 0-for-16 on the man advantage. Oof.

So now, hockey season now has an extended engagement in the Southland. not that you couldn’t tell on TV. Thanks to the Dodgers and the Angels, the game was relegated to KDOC. I mean, I know the Ducks have a broadcast agreement with the station, but you’d think Fox Sports would try to swap off the Dodger game for the SoCal SalChow/Freeway Faceoff. This game was far more important than the Dodger game (which, as luck had it, was delayed then ultimately suspended due by rain).

One more game between these two which still has serious implications. A win would behoove the Kings, but the matchup I really want is against the Red Wings, which is where it stands right now if the playoffs started today. But to figure out how they could do that is mind-numbing. Let’s just let Saturday’s game decide and see who the Kings’ first round opponents will be.

Now that the Ducks are in, at least Cuba Gooding Jr. is happy. (We never forget, Cuba.)

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 8: Dustin Penner #25 of the Los Angeles Kings drives the puck against the Anaheim Ducks during the game at Honda Center on April 8, 2011 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Robert Binder /NHLI via Getty Images)• AP: Ducks beat Kings to clinch playoff spot

The Ducks and Kings have met 101 times in the regular season and numerous times in the preseason since the NHL expanded to Anaheim. But they had never before sold playoff tickets in the same year despite a spirited rivalry that began in 1993-94, when Los Angeles was coming off its only trip to the Stanley Cup finals and the expansion Ducks were siphoning off close to 20 percent of the Kings’ season-ticket holders.

• LA Times: Teemu Selanne leads Ducks into playoffs

They played a hard, fierce game before a sellout crowd at Honda Center that included a loud contingent of Kings fans, but even the Kings acknowledged they had been beaten by an extraordinary effort by an extraordinary player.

• OC Register: Selanne makes sure Ducks reach postseason

A year after a disappointing season that left them watching the postseason from afar, the Ducks are back in as Selanne’s two goals lifted them to a 2-1 victory over the Kings that clinched a playoff spot Friday night at Honda Center.

• Kings edged in Anaheim

The Kings will finish sixth in the Western Conference. Or fifth. Or seventh. Maybe fourth. Possibly even eighth. The NHL regular season is dwindling down to its final hours, and while the Kings know they’re in the playoffs, they have no idea of their short-term fate.

• Selanne nets pair, Ducks join Kings in playoffs 

Anaheim prevailed in perhaps the biggest game in the history of this series in terms of what was at stake this late in the season. The closest the teams had previously come to making the playoffs in the same year was 2000, when the Kings finished fifth and the Ducks ninth.

Teemu Selanne #8 of the Anaheim Ducks waves as he skates after being named first star of the game against the Los Angeles King at Honda Center on April 8, 2011 in Anaheim, California. The Ducks won 2-1 to clinch a berth in the playoffs. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
They said it

“I’m proud of both teams. We need this. Obviously for hockey here in Southern California, this is going to be a huge boost for both franchises. So I’m very happy about this situation.” – Teemu Selanne, on have both teams in Southern California in the playoffs.

“I think we need some help now. I think this is the first time where it hasn’t been in our own hands, and that’s not what we wanted to do, but we’ll come back tomorrow. We’ve got to win tomorrow. Everybody wants to go into the playoffs with a win under our belts, playing hard and doing the right things. Hopefully that comes tomorrow.” – Matt Greene, on still being able to finish fourth in the Western Conference.

“I think we’ve just got to stick to our structure. We’ve got to get pucks behind their D and cycle it and just bring pucks to the net and crash the net.” – Wayne Simmonds, on how to find more offense.

“He gave us a chance,” Carlyle said. “I think the stop that he made on Simmonds was the game-changer. We missed the assignments. Two guys went to one and Simmonds was all alone. Dan Ellis came up with a big game-saving glove save.” – Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, on backup goaltender Dan Ellis.

 “I hope we’re a little bit better in the playoffs than what we were out there tonight. You’re got a lot of skilled players on that hockey club. You’ve got to manage the puck the right way. We had plays that we just did not make, that you have to make against their two top lines, when it comes to breakouts, when it comes to managing the puck through the middle of the ice.” – Terry Murray, on the playoff-like game.

Game 72: Kings duped by refs but still nab point vs. Ducks

Alexei Ponikarovsky #27 of the Los Angeles Kings attempts a shot on goal against Ray Emery #29 of the Anaheim Ducks during the game at Staples Center on March 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)

Los Angeles Kings left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky, of Ukraine, top center, falls over Anaheim Ducks goalie Ray Emery after he was pushed by Anaheim Ducks defenseman Luca Sbisa, of Italy, during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Los Angeles, Saturday, March 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Game 72: Ducks 2, Kings 1 (OT)

To peep out all the videos online about this game, check out today’s Hockeywood Dailies.

The Kings may have gotten booed off the ice by the fans on Thursday. Maybe the team should’ve booed the Kings fans in attendance during Saturday’s game against their crosstown rivals, the Ducks.

The reason? It sounded as if there were way more Ducks fans at Staples. Not only that, but the Kings played a lot better than Thursday’s game as well. Fans, if you want to be vocal, be vocal all game. This team is on the cusp of making the playoffs for the second time in two years, yet you are all acting like Canadiens fans. Heckle the team when they play bad, but be sure you support them when they put out a good effort as well. Be consistent, fans.

Like I said before, the Kings came to play Saturday. Problem was, so did the Ducks. Anaheim played like a team with purpose, which is to make the playoffs. Much has been said about how both the Kings and Ducks have never made the playoffs in the same season. And if they do, it’ll be real interesting to see which team’s fans rally around their club more. If Saturday night was any indication, it just might be the Anaheim fans.

The team on the ice played a typical Kings game: outshot their opponents, shut down the other team’s PP unit and fail to score with the man advantage. I keep hoping the Kings will flip that switch and start lighting the lamp on the power play. That’s the only thing that’s missing, in my opinion.

At Staples Center, the Kings are ranked 12th in power play opportunities. But their PP percentage at home is an anemic 15.7, good enough for 25th. Of all places, you’d think the team could score with a man advantage. After all, when most teams have a power play at home, they don’t just have a man advantage, they have two: the extra attacker AND the fans. How just how quiet has it been when the Kings are on the power play? Why do you think they consistantly play the annoying “LET’S MAKE SOME NOOOOOISE”? Represent, Kings fans.

O.K., enough about the fans. The play of the night, in my opinion, was in the second period when Wayne Simmonds goal was negated by the refs because Alexei Ponikarovsky had barrelled into Ducks goaltender Ray Emery. Turns out Ponikarovsky was pushed into the goaltender by Luca Sbisa. Upon further review, the goal should’ve stood, but didn’t. Yet the play wasn’t reviewable. And there’s the rub.

The Kings have to take care of business on the ice, so plays like that don’t decide the game. And the Kings did what they could against the Ducks. But if they are going to replay questionable plays to get them right, replay them all.

They wound up tying the game midway through the third period, when Dustin Brown potted his 23rd goal of the season. For the first time in nine games, the Kings actually topped 30 shots. You’d think a team with four players with 20+ goals would have more (not counting Penner) would be higher, and yet they are ranked 26th.

On the positive, the Kings haven’t allowed a power play goal in nine games as well, killing off 29 consecutive penalties, and are currently have the 4th-best PK unit. I wouldn’t mind dropping  few points in the PK if it meant an increase on the PP. It would certainly make them a deadlier team to face.

Next up are the Flames at Staples on Monday, another team that is fighting for a playoff spot.

• AP: Corey Perry scores in OT, Ducks beat Kings 2-1

Although they’ve never made the playoffs in the same season, (the KIngs and Ducks) both (have) got a great chance this spring—and it just might come down to their next two matchups on the final two days of the regular season.

• LA Times: Ducks defeat the Kings in overtime, 2-1

An apparent goal by Wayne Simmonds at 12:48 of the second period was waved off after referees Dave Jackson and Kyle Rehman ruled Alexei Ponikarovsky had interfered with Emery. In truth, Ducks defenseman Luca Sbisa pushed Ponikarovsky into the goalie — but Ponikarovsky got the penalty and the Kings didn’t get a goal they thought they should have had.

• Point taken as Kings lose to Ducks 2-1 in overtime

In a game that matched its late-season gravity, the Kings and Ducks gave strong efforts for 60 minutes and beyond. Anaheim got the extra point when Corey Perry’s overtime goal gave the Ducks a 2-1 victory before a sellout crowd of 18,118 at STAPLES Center.

• Ducks top Kings 2-1 in overtime

The Ducks pulled into a ninth-place tie with Calgary in the Western Conference standings with 83 points. The clubs meet at Honda Center on Sunday night.

• Orange County Register: Perry, Ducks find way past Kings in OT

Corey Perry brought a sudden end to a glimpse of what a playoff series between the Ducks and Kings might be like if the teams ever met.

Los Angeles Kings right wing Justin Williams, center, collides with Anaheim Ducks goalie Ray Emery, left, after he was tripped by Anaheim Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Los Angeles, Saturday, March 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
They said it

“We played exactly how we want to play. If we play like that, more times than not we’ll get the results we want. We get a point, we lose in OT against a team obviously we would like to win against in regulation to put a bigger gap between us. With that being said, I was really proud of the group and the guys and how we responded after the last game.” – Willie Mitchell, on the game.

“I feel like ever since I came here, there’s always been a playoff-like atmosphere every time we’ve played them, no matter what time of the year it was. It’s fun hockey to play but unfortunately it’s not the outcome we wanted.” – Jonathan Quick, on the rivalry with the Ducks.

“From my view, I thought it was a good goal. I see their defenseman pushing Poni [Alexei Ponikarovsky] from behind, so it depends where you are on the ice, I guess, to get a look at it. We all want to protect the goaltenders. They’re vulnerable in there. But that’s the way it goes.” – Coach Terry Murray, on Simmonds’ disallowed goal

Game 60: Kings defeat the depleted Ducks

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell(33) is congratulated by teammates Kyle Clifford(13), Anze Kopitar(11) and Drew Doughty after Mitchell scored against the Anaheim Ducks in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011. The Kings won 3-2. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Teemu Selanne #8 of the Anaheim Ducks battles against Jarret Stoll #28 of the Los Angeles Kings during the game on February 23, 2011 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)Game 60: Kings 3, Ducks 2

• To check out the Hockeywood Dailies from this game, click here

For the longest time, I was in denial about there being a rivalry between the Kings and Ducks.

I never took the Ducks and their fans very seriously, even though many of them likely were former Kings fans or transplant fans. Then that whole Stanley Cup thing happened, and I was forced to re-evaluate some things.

Gone were the days of the Mickey Mouse organization, with their ridiculous jerseys and family-oriented entertainment. When the Mouse sold off the team, the new owners have shown a sense of purpose, they want to win.

But even as the Ducks won Lord Stanley’s Cup, it barely made a ripple in SoCal. All that seemed to do was galvanize Kings fans, to the extent that fans now go out of their way to support the team.

Like invading The Honda Center to cheer on their hometown team. On Wednesday night, the Kings put the perfect cap on their historic 10-game road trip with a hard-fought victory over a depleted Ducks squad. At times, the Kings fans in attendance at the Honda Center were vocal enough to make the broadcast.

Not only was Anaheim missing their All-Star* goaltender Jonas Hiller, they were also without Ryan Getzlaf and Saku Koivu. So they rolled out a more physical lineup to try and slow the KIngs. It worked, for the most part.

The Kings never trailed in the goal column, but they weren’t getting a lot of shots. After a loosey-goosey first period, the Kings could only muster five shots in the second and only three in the third. Didn’t matter, because the Kings’ vaunted defense didn’t really allow the Ducks any serious looks at Jonathan Quick.

Willie Mitchell, the stoic defenseman who’s known more for his grit on the ice, scored the game-winner in the third period. While you don’t really expect too much offense from a player like Mitchell, it certainly helps when he contributes. Especially in one-goal games like on Wednesday.

This part road trip, seven out of the ten games were one-goal decisions, with the Kings winning five of those. It stands to reason the next 22 games will certainly be as tight as it has been for the last month. Not only that, but 10 of them are Pacific Division games, and two games each with other Western Conference divisional leaders Detroit and Vancouver.

Next up, the Kings return home to Staples to take on the Minnesota Wild. It’s also the second of the team’s Legends’ NIght, this time honoring the architect of the Triple Crown Line, Bob Berry. And that can only mean one thing: the old-school Kings jerseys will be pulled out of mothballs again. Don’t forget, while you are at Staples Center tonight to welcome home the road warriors and rocking a throwback of your own, snap a pic and send it in for our “I’m Down With The Crown” contest. Plenty of decals are ready to be claimed for free!

* – Honestly, Jonathan Quick deserved the All-Star nod over Jonas Hiller.

• AP: Kings beat Ducks 3-2 in 99th meeting of rivals

The win allowed the Kings to close their trip with a 6-1-3 record, moving ahead of the Ducks in the tightly bunched Western Conference playoff race. The Kings are in sixth place, tied with Minnesota, Nashville and Calgary with 70 points each.

• LA Times: Kings beat the Ducks, 3-2, to finish trip with a flourish

McElhinney, trying to keep his job with newly recalled Ray Emery on the bench as his backup, gave up two rebounds the Kings turned into goals. For the Ducks, whose offense was depleted by the absence of centers Saku Koivu (sore groin) and Ryan Getzlaf, who stayed with his wife following the birth of their son Wednesday afternoon, two mistakes proved too many.

• OC Register: Struggling Ducks lose fourth in a row

The Ducks (32-25-4) have dropped four in a row and now sit two points out of a playoff spot. The Kings (33-23-4) jumped into the sixth position in finishing with a 6-1-3 record in their 10-game road swing.

• Kings down the Ducks

For the Kings, Wednesday’s win was like the proverbial sausage. The product was enjoyable, even if the process was a bit messy and unsightly at times.

• Kings end trip with win at Anaheim

Goaltender Jonathan Quick made 25 saves for his 28th victory. Curtis McElhinney stopped 15 shots for the Ducks, who lost their fourth in a row. 

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times). Kings forward Kyle Clifford, right, lands a punch on Ducks forward Kyle Chipchura during the first period of the Kings' 3-2 victory Wednesday at the Honda Center.
They said it

“We had to answer the bell and get together as a group and realize how important this trip was and we got 15 out of 20 points. We talked about it before the game: 13 out of 20 is good but 15 out of 20 is pretty good. Now we’ve got to keep building and keep going.” – Jarret Stoll, on the game.

“I think that’s something we’re starting to do a better job of. Because we’re not a high-scoring team, that’s something that we have to really focus on, that being the strength of our hockey club. I thought we did a pretty good job of that. It wasn’t our best game, but we locked it down after that. We didn’t really give them any quality chances, and that’s what you need to do at this time of year. All the games are tight.” – Willie Mitchell, on holding the lead after his goal.

“Every two points is just so important. I think I finally figured out to not even look at the standings. If you don’t win, there’s not even any point in looking at it, because you’re not going to move up. We’ve just got to continue to keep doing this, treat every game like it’s a playoff game. If we win 95 percent of the games from here on out, I think we’ll have a good spot in the playoffs.” – Drew Doughty, on the tight Western Conference

“It kind of felt like a home game. There were a lot of L.A. Kings fans out there,” said right wing Justin Williams, whose backhand pass set up defenseman Willie Mitchell’s decisive slap shot from the left circle at 6:45 of the third period. “When we scored it was kind of nice to hear.” – Justin Williams, on the atmosphere of the game.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times.) Kings forward Anze Kopitar, left, congratulates goalie Jonathan Quick following the Kings' 3-2 victory over the Ducks at the Honda Center on Wednesday. “The guys were really digging in on the checking part of the game. They were very responsible. Everybody worked hard. We did a better job of getting into the shot lanes later in the game, than what we did in the first period. Quick was good when he had to be good, but again, everybody had great awareness to their skill and their speed, and we stayed above the puck and got a good win.” – Terry Murray, on holding the lead after Mitchell’s goal.

“They did a good job of blocking lanes and keeping guys from going to the net. With the exception of Corey’s goal, Quick had a pretty easy night. He didn’t have a lot of traffic in front of him. They have some big defenseman that clog that area pretty well and get you out of there. We didn’t spend enough time in the dangerous areas.” – Ducks forward Bobby Ryan, crediting the Kings defense.

“It’s a four-point game. Obviously you look at the standings. Other teams around us are finding ways to get points every night. We’ve lost four in a row and we find ourselves on the outside looking in.” – Ducks forward Bobby Ryan, on the game.

Kings end road trip on a high note, shoot down Ducks

For the complete game breakdown, postgame comments from Dustin Brown, Jarret Stoll and coach Terry Murray and the fight between the two Kyles, click here…

Here’s a fresh new look: the Kings celebrating deep in the bowels of the Ponda Center.

Here’s the postgame comments from Dustin Brown, Jarret Stoll and coach Terry Murray.

Finally, here’s the fight between Kyle Clifford and Kyle Chipchura.

Game 34: Ducks provide perfect snack for Bernier, Kings

The Los Angeles Kings celebrate a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on December 26, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)

Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, right, of Slovenia, moves the puck pursued by Anaheim Ducks center Kyle Chipchura during the third period of their NHL hockey game, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010, in Los Angeles. The Kings won 4-1. (AP Photo/Jason Redmond)Game 34: Kings 4, Ducks 1

• For the Hockeywood Dailies, click here .

When the Kings last met the Ducks , L.A. was at the end of a brutal stretch in November, losing seven out of eight. Things were so bad, the Kings were at the bottom of the Pacific Division, after starting the season near the top of the league.

The game in November wasn’t bad, the team had actually played good enough to win. The thing that the Kings couldn’t do was score.

To address that, Dean Lombardi went out and traded for Marco Sturm for a box of stick tape on Dec. 12th. On Dec. 21, Strm was cleared to play, and last game, he was elevated to the top line.

If Sunday night is any indication, the Kings have solved their scoring problem. Zee German was able to energize the top line of Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar, both of which scored in the second period to lift the Kings past the Ducks.

Both teams came back from their Christmas holiday rested. It wasn’t until the second period, when Wayne Simmonds scored his eighth of the season 15 seconds in off a Michal Handzus rebound. Staples Center erupted as Simmonds slapped hands with the bench, and was still riding that high when Matt Beleskey scored his first of the season.

It had happened again, the Kings came out flat and allowed a goal less than a minute after they had scored. It’s always a frustrating situation to let a team back in the game right after the Kings score. Fortunately for the Kings, they built on their momentum in the second, and reeled off three more goals to chase Jonas Hiller from goal.

Back in the linenup and patrolling the blueline was defenseman Matt Greene, who had missed five games due to a concussion he had gotten playing the Blackhawks. All he did was dole out punishment, hitting five Ducks and blocking a shot in the victory.

Also, Jonathan Bernier got the nod over Jonathan Quick, another calculated move by coach Terry Murray to build the youngster’s confidence. Considering the Ducks had lost three of their last four games, it was a safe bet to start Bernier in net. He only had to make 18 shots and got a huge lead to play with, so Bernier was set up for success. He now has only allowed one goal in his last three wins.

No rest for the Warrior Kings, as the December to Dismember grinds on. The Sharks await at the Shark Tank for the Kings Monday night. San Jose has been enjoying the fruits of their sixth-ranked power play, but will it be enough to crack the Kings’ strong defensive front, which currently has the fourth best penalty kill and the allowed the second least amount of goals?

• AP: Brown leads Kings to 4-1 win over Ducks

Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown scored and Sturm earned an assist in his third game with his new team, leading the Kings to a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night in the second installment of the “Freeway Faceoff.”

• LA Times: Kings enjoy a feast with the Ducks as the main course

It gave the Kings (21-12-1) a good launch to a tough stretch. They’ll finish a back-to-back sequence Monday at San Jose and will play four games in five nights, but they feel ready — and certain the problems behind their 1-7 November slump have vanished.

• LA Times: Kings, Ducks are on different levels

The Kings are doing their part to make that happen, occupying sixth place in the West with games in hand on most of their rivals. But the Ducks are ninth entering the teams’ second meeting this season and have played a league-high 38 games, one more than they had played at last year’s Christmas break in a schedule that was condensed to accommodate the Olympic hiatus.

• Kings go Duck-hunting

It started with another one of those “here-they-go-again” moments. It
ended with a series of goal celebrations and two big points, at the
beginning of a difficult stretch of games.

• OC Register: Kings make it look easy against Ducks

The Ducks didn’t generate anything beyond Matt Beleskey’s goal, and goalie Jonas Hiller couldn’t bail them out as he was pulled after Dustin Brown’s power-play goal that gave the Kings a three-goal lead.

Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier, right, handles the puck as Anaheim Ducks right wing Bobby Ryan, left, approaches during the third period of their NHL hockey game, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010, in Los Angeles. The Kings won 4-1. (AP Photo/Jason Redmond)They said it

“Every time you play against a line like Getzlaf’s, you want to make sure you don’t give a whole lot. You want to shut them down first and, at the same time, you want to take it to them. Obviously nobody wants to defend all the time. You want to make them defend as much as you can.” – Anze Kopitar, on playing against top opposing lines.

“I think over our past 10 games we’ve been playing pretty well. After our little slide, we had a little meeting and we talked about it. You can’t do things like that. We have another one of those we’re out of the playoffs, and I think it’s crucial now to get every two points we can.” – Wayne Simmonds, on the game.

“I think it wasn’t my greatest game for the rebounds. I felt like I gave away a lot of rebounds. But guys were there for me in the right spot there, and I was just trying to make that first save.” – Jonathan Bernier, on the game.

“I hadn’t lost confidence in him. We just had a tough time getting some wins for him. He made some corrections in his gam. Our goalie coaches were around for a while and he spent some time with them and he made some adjustments technically. He had a big win against Nashville and he had a big win here again tonight. So I will get back to looking at him more, to get back in our rotation.” – Terry Murray, on the play of Bernier.

Mucho Ocho: Kings douse Ducks

Kings right wing Dustin Brown scores past a sprawling Jonas Hiller for the eventual game-winning goal late in the third period to insure the Kings' eighth victory in a row. Mike Zampelli/LetsGoKings

Game 57: Kings 6, Ducks 4

Thursday night’s, which has been lovingly dubbed the SoCal Salchow by my podcast partner Jesse, shaped up to be a real slobberknocker.

Coming into the Staples Center were the Anaheim Ducks, winners of three in a row. The Ducks got an influx of scoring when they acquired Jason Blake from Toronto, and with Teemu Selanne back from his jaw injury, the Ducks now have two legit top lines.

The Kings’ success is well-reported here, especially their 21-0 when leading after two periods. But the Ducks have a unique stat on their side: they share the league lead with the Kings in winning games when trailing after two periods. That stat would come back to haunt the Kings in the third period.

As the game started, the Ducks took charge and stormed out to an early lead, when Jason Blake snuck on past Kings goalie Jonathon Quick. Throughout the first 10 minutes, the Kings looked sluggish and out of sync. In fact, this was what I expected on Tuesday when they played the Rangers.

Anze Kopitar #11 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates his power-play goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the third period of the NHL hockey game on February 4, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles Kings tied a franchise record with their eighth straight victory after defeating the Anaheim Ducks 6-4. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

But the Kings got their groove back, when the Kings’ Anze Kopitar scored to tie it up. They proceeded to reel off three more goals (from Wayne Simmonds, Michal Handzus and Jack Johnson) to take charge of the contest. And the Kings were well on their way to improving their record to 22-0-0 when leading after two periods.

I hate to make this tired analogy, but it’s my blog so tough crap. This being Hollywood, the Ducks came back with a vengeance. Anaheim rallied with three straight goals from Troy Bodie, Matt Beleskey and Ryan Carter to tie the game. Like the Kings’ Anaheim has found secondary scoring in their lower lines to keep teams honest.

For five excruciating minutes, the Ducks and the Kings went toe-to-toe in some of the most spirited hockey I’ve seen between these two clubs. And when Kopitar stole the puck behind the Ducks net and shot on Hiller, the resulting rebound found it’s way to Dustin Brown’s stick to break the deadlock. Staples breathed a sigh of relief.

And in a great shift klilling off time with under 2 minutes left, Ryan Getzlaf tripped up Brown to give the Kings a power play. And it was Anze Kopitar who popped one past Hiller for the nail in the coffin. He had four points on the night (2 goals, 2 assists), which tied his career high for points in row with eight in a row, and now tied for first in the league lead in power play points (with Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos).

Another player who had a career game was Jack Johnson, who had his first four-point game (1G, 3A). Johnson has quietly had himself a career year and has recently turned a corner. Fans seem to focus on plus/minus, which is a worthless stat, since it’s based on the other players on the ice. The Lombardi diss drama seems to have focused the Michigan native, and he is playing smarter.

Eight in a row is indeed rarified air, but I’m not too happy they way the Kings lost their three-goal buffer in 11 minutes. It shows that even though these Kings have much more to learn about keeping pressure on. There is NO reason they should’ve even let the Ducks sniff a tie Thursday.

The Kings face off against Detroit next, who comes into Staples Center. Let’s see just how many Detroit fans show up in their red jerseys this game…

• AP: Kings tie club record with 8th straight win

Quick, who stopped all 22 shots in a 4-0 win at Staples Center the last time the teams met, is 13-3-0 in his last 16 games. His 33rd victory gave him the league lead by one over New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur, and put him within two wins of the club record set in 1980-81 by Mario Lessard.

• LA Times: Kings make it a great eight in a row, beat Ducks, 6-4

It was yet another lesson for the Kings, who have been model students while absorbing a lot of new material. “We made it a little more interesting than we would have liked to at the end,” Johnson said.

• Eight is great

The Kings have tied the franchise record with eight consecutive victories, a level previously reached during the 1991-92 and 1972-73, and they have also moved ahead of Phoenix and into fourth place in the Western Conference with 25 games remaining.

•  Kings top Ducks 6-4 for 8th win in a row

The loss ended Anaheim’s three-game winning streak. The Ducks are 11-5-0 in their last 16 games and remained three points out of a playoff berth. The Kings and Ducks have never qualified for the playoffs in the same season since Anaheim entered the NHL in 1993.

• Kopitar’s resurgence puts Kings back on track

“I don’t know if I got away from playing my game. I sure tried it, but maybe it was not working for me,” said Kopitar, who needed 12 games to score his first 10 goals, but 39 to score his next 10. “My mindset wasn’t any different than it was from the start of the season. You go through ups and downs and great players don’t let those downs be more than just a couple of games. That’s the thing that I still have to work on.”

They said it

“It’s one of those nights when the bounces are going a little bit your way. The first goal, it wasn’t anything special. It was just putting the puck on net. The assist to Brownie was a little bit lucky. It doesn’t matter if I get four points or zero points as long as we, as a team, get two points. That’s the most important thing.” – Anze Kopitar, on his four-point game

“I think it was a combination. There were some great plays, and we had a couple defensive lapses. We’ve got to tighten up defensively. We gave ourselves a great lead and put ourselves in great position. We made it a little more interesting than we’d like to at the end.” – Jack Johnson, on whether the Ducks improved or the Kings let up

“The Kopitar line had a big responsibility tonight, playing against one of the premier lines in the league. I liked what happened in the last 10 minutes of the third period. There was a lot of dig-in by Kopitar and that line. There was a real battle going on before the fifth goal was scored. It was hard, it was heavy. There were two big men battling against each other, and we ended up scoring on it. Yeah, they did a real big job for us tonight.” – Terry Murray, on the play of the Kopitar line

Jack Johnson #3 of the Los Angeles Kings gets hit by against George Parros #16 of the Anaheim Ducks during the game on February 4, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)

Around the Kingdom

• The Royal Half: On the move

The only thing better than perpetual trade bait Simmonds, Brown and Johnson having excellent games was the fact that Anze Kopitar is a King for 7 more years. Kopitar had 2 beautiful goals and 2 beautiful assists tonight and he is now the 10th leading scorer in the NHL. Oh, and he also happens to lead the NHL with 27 Power Play points.

• Throne Room: 8 straight: Duck Hunting

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s pretty obvious by now that the Kings OWN Anaheim this season. 3 games so far (and 3 wins)have shown them to be a superior hockey team. The Ducks are on the outside of the playoff bubble looking in, and all the sudden Honda Center is mostly empty except for road fans most game nights. Not that anybody is really surprised at that.

• MayorsManor: Attn: Ducks fans

Change your jersey. Change your colors. Let everybody in the arena wear orange – like they just escaped from a CalTrans chain gang. It doesn’t matter. You’re still cheering for the Ducks.

• HockeyBuzz’s Matthew Barry: Kings With 8th Straight – Beat Ducks 6-4

The Kings were content to run out the clock, but Jack Johnson saw an opportunity when he saw Handzus planted in front again. The shot rang of his nether regions, bounced to Kopitar who had an open net, his 2nd goal of the game and his 4th point of the night to seal the victory.

• Inside Hockey: Freeway faceoff indeed

“I don’t look up the history of the team in these situations.  You’re supposed to win games,” added Murray. “That’s our job — to win 82 games.” (Ed. note: Well, technically it’s to win the Stanley Cup. Winning 82 games might insure the President’s Cup, but I’d rather have Lord Stanley’s Cup)

• LA Kings Insider’s Rich Hammond: Last thoughts on non-trade

When it came down to it, Lombardi simply didn’t want to break up the locker room, especially for a player who might walk in three months anyway. There’s still, of course, the option that Kovalchuk could sign during the summer, presuming he intends to keep playing in the NHL. It’s been a fascinating story, and it’s definitely not done yet.

• Kings GM Lombardi: ‘We’re building like the Twins and the Oakland A’s’

“I’m a buyer,” he said, smacking his hand on the armrest of his chair, “and I will try and improve this team if the right guy is there. But, it’s got to be the right player and I’d like it to fit in the future.”

From across the aisle, the Anaheim viewpoint

• OC Register: Kings hold off Ducks

The Ducks aren’t doing anything against either of their fiercest competitors. They’ve gone 0-7 against the Kings and San Jose Sharks this season and it’s a large reason why they are a miserable 3-12-2 against the Pacific Division.

• DucksBlog: Fatigue catches up with Ducks

“We worked hard and we just seemed like we ran out of gas in the end,” Coach Randy Carlyle said. “Fundamentally, we made a couple of mistakes that gave them an opportunity to attack in (the neutral zone) for the fifth goal. That’s a sign of a tired group.”

• Anaheim Calling: Open Gameday Recap

Jonas Hiller on the other hand, got lit up. It wasn’t all his fault, seeing as how his vision was constantly impaired by  Michael Handzus’ backside.  The Ducks inability to clear the front of the net was ultimately their undoing tonight.  It’s hard to tell if the Ducks were owned by the Kings, or if they just didn’t fight for the full 60 minutes. Either way. It’s two points they won’t pick up in the standings.

Peeping the dailies

<br /><a href=";brand=foxsports&#038;vid=bc96d369-da91-4690-a4de-2e6a952768e7" target="_new" title="Kings win eighth straight">Video: Kings win eighth straight</a>

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.

• 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.

•  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

• 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=";brand=foxsports&#038;vid=769b1c72-3f8a-4fe1-8aa8-8087fbdaa2f8" target="_new" title="Kings down Ducks">Video: Kings down Ducks</a>

BallHype: hype it up!