March 20, 2021 (From The Editor’s Desk]: Listen Up Everyone…NHL Hockey is Back!! And here we go, with our second season of providing coverage. At nearly the midseason mark, we pick up on our two local teams, the Kings and the Ducks. We start with coverage of their March 8th encounter in Anaheim at the Honda Center. Doing the storytelling is our NHL Correspondent, Joe Perry, returning for his 2nd season as our journalist for NHL Hockey coverage.
Let’s get right to the action in this match-up. The Kings traveled South down the 5 Frwy. to Orange County to face their SoCal territorial rival, the Ducks. The game was played on Monday, March 8, 2021. Photo Credit: National Hockey League
First Episode In “Back-to-Back” Battles Ends With Overtime Drama
Welcome back to coverage of the National Hockey League! In this new year, we’ll primarily be focusing on our local Southern California teams during the regular season, that being the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks. What better way to kick it off than with their first back-to-back matchup of the season! Note: the Kings came in with a winning record, and the Ducks a losing one. Both teams were very close to .500, however. Let’s take a good look at the game action.
1st PERIOD: Kings win the face-off, but the first 10 minutes are dominated by the Ducks. In more intense action, there’s a battle for the puck on the sideboards where Ducks’ forward Isac Lundeström leaves it off for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, being challenged by Kings’ new hotshot Adrian Kempe. Shattenkirk “dekes” him with a nice move and walks right around him. Meanwhile, Ducks’ forward Max Jones is creating havoc in front of the Kings’ goaltender Cal Petersen. Through great traffic, Shattenkirk somehow zeroes in on the net and snaps off a shot, and there’s no chance whatsoever for Petersen to stop it.[DUCKS 1st GOAL (1-0)]. The score came at the 2:45 mark of the period.
Shorthanded, Kings’ winger Trevor Moore turns on the jets up the left side and into the Anaheim zone. He battles two opponents and gets the puck up to fellow forward Blake Lizotte behind net. No support from the Ducks defense on the top of the goal crease. Lizotte slips it in front for the aforementioned Adrian Kempe who scores just as the penalty ends. That’s Kempe’s first of the night – don’t forget about him. [KINGS 1st GOAL (1-1)]. Kempe tied it at the 9:45 mark.
Kings’ captain Anže Kopitar can’t get the puck away from Ducks’ captain Ryan Getzlaf down low behind the net. Then all of a sudden, the puck squeaks out in front to Ducks’ winger Rickard Rakell, and Getzlaf boxes out Kings’ defenseman Matt Roy so that Roy can’t challenge. With Roy shielded, Rakell snaps it into the roof of the net with the clock reading 16:46. [DUCKS 2nd GOAL (2-1)].
2nd PERIOD: [KINGS 2nd GOAL (2-2)]: The King’s young center Gabe Vilardi comes into the zone with speed, then slips it wide to Kopitar who has trouble reeling it in off the boards. The puck bounces with much force back to center where Dustin Brown was waiting for an easy slap shot on goal. Brown, the Kings’ right-winger, recorded his 7th powerplay goal of the season and it came at the 1:01 mark of the period.
[DUCKS 3rd GOAL (3-2)]: Left-winger Max Comtois throws a cheeky saucer pass to defenseman Ben Hutton who re-directs it up and over the glove hand of the goaltender. Hutton victimizes his former team, and the Ducks take the lead again. Tie is snapped at the 8:30 mark.
[DUCKS 4th GOAL (4-2)]: Shorthanded! A “2-on-1” break with winger (and alternate captain) Jakob Silfverberg ahead to Adam Henrique. Henrique realizes he’s got space in front of him. A “give-and-go” begins with Silfverberg who waits as he collects in front and slips a backhand shot home. It was a beautiful little pass from Henrique who weighted it perfectly, the puck landed flat, without too much pace. And what nice patience exhibited by Henrique who waited for Silfverberg to jump into the hole. This marks the Ducks first shorthand goal of the season and gives them a two-goal lead. The score was clocked at the 14:04 minute.
[KINGS 3rd GOAL (4-3)]: A simple powerplay goal. Kopitar passes brilliantly from the blue line and Kempe drills it from the wing. A one-timer with smart execution.
[DUCKS 5th GOAL (5-3)]: Anaheim keeps the pressure on. Puck comes down behind the net. Max Comtois bumped behind by Kings’ defenseman Sean Walker but keeps the puck moving along. Comtois now out in front realizes he’s surrounded by four guys and lets off a spinning backhand pass to Rickard Rakell who’s down at the far post. Rakell receives, falling down, staving off the stick of Kings’ Rasmus Kupari and somehow manages to backhand an incredible shot himself that goes in. What a goal!! Best of the night, by far. Time on the game clock read 18:15.
3rd PERIOD: [KINGS 4th GOAL (5-4)]: Kings’ forward Andreas Athanasiou picks off the puck from Ben Hutton who tried to clear out of the zone off the boards. Now with his back literally on the boards, Athanasiou shows off some flashy stickhandling. He slips through 3 different defenders, banging bodies but never losing the puck. His handling skills and burst of speed confused everyone, including John Gibson the Ducks goaltender, who didn’t even know how or when the puck ended up behind him in net. Absolute power move by Athanasiou. Quick score came at 1:18 of the period.
[KINGS 5th GOAL (5-5)]: Here’s Kempe for a hat trick. Drew Doughty at the left point, throws it on goal into traffic. Kempe gets his stick free and pulls the puck out of the air, against the grain. Ducks’ goaltender Gibson was going to take it against his chest but never got the chance. Kempe’s redirect goal at the 17:28 mark ties the game and sends us into overtime.
OVERTIME: [DUCKS WINNING GOAL – (6-5) OT]: Visualize for a moment a lot of speed and energy to end the night. A “2-on-1” power play erupted out of the Anaheim zone and on into the Kings’ real estate. Shattenkirk initially broke it up and shoveled it ahead to center Trevor Zegras. Zegras had a lot of room and Adam Henrique on his left. Doughty in front tries to cut off the angle. Zegras’s eyes flit back and forth between pass or shoot. He waits for an opening, and what a pass! Zegras dishes it through the triangle (the space between Doughty’s stick and heel), and all Henrique had to do was put his stick square onto the puck to tap it into the side of the goal. Kings goalie, Cal Petersen, could not cover it fast enough. The goal was officially recorded at the 3:00 minute mark. Game over! The win moved the Ducks season’s record to (8-12-6).
About Our Correspondent: Joe Perry is our new Sports Correspondent and Cinema-TV, and Entertainment Columnist for East L.A. Sports Scene. He was born in New Jersey and raised by two public school teachers who loved taking him on World tours. He is an MFA graduate from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts Program in Film & TV Production. Duly noted here, while growing-up, Joe was a huge fan of the New Jersey Devils. He has been assigned to cover the games between the Kings and the Ducks for the rest of the 2021 season covering, as well as the Stanley Cup Finals.
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