(East Los Angeles, CA) May 13, 2021 [From The Editor’s Desk]: With no time to lose, here is our NHL Correspondent, Joe Perry with his first of a 2-part series that covered the late April, early May match-ups of our two NHL hockey clubs, the L.A. Kings and the Anaheim Ducks. We keep in mind that our followers are made up of those fans whose favorite sports teams represent the NHL and the longtime, proud traditions they bring to our L.A. County and Orange County fan-bases. While these first two particular rivalry match-ups may not have been chronicled in real-time, we nonetheless deem it right and appropriate to have covered them for their fans. With that..take it away Mr. Perry.
Anaheim Ducks @ Los Angeles Kings – “4-GAME SERIES, Part 1”
Game #1: Monday, 4/26 & Game #2: Wednesday, 4/28.
[GAME 1/Preview]: Kings were at home wearing their reverse retro jerseys, looking like the Lakers with purple sweaters and golden numbers.
1st PERIOD: [1st GOAL – KINGS (1-0)]: Kings’ defenseman Sean Walker found his way through traffic. He’s been trying this more and more the past five games. A high screen from Kings’ forward Alex Iafallo prevented Ducks’ netminder Anthony Stolarz from getting a good look. The puck tapped the top of his glove but snuck in high off a quick wrister.
[2nd GOAL – KINGS (2-0)]:Young defenseman Mikey Anderson on his backhand….right place, right time. Kings’ forward Brendan Lemieux carried it out of the corner to the Blue Line and shot well-wide of the target. Puck bounced off the boards and straight to Anderson who scored his first of the year. The bounce off the boards should’ve been stopped by Stolarz, but he made a mistake and the puck ended up out in a dangerous area. Credit to Anderson for snapping off a shot so quickly. Once again, more production from Kings defenseman. Truth be told, Anderson had recently been moved off this line pairing with assistant Captain, Drew Doughty, but found himself re-inserted.
(2nd PERIOD) [1st GOAL – DUCKS (2-1)]: Ducks’ forward Danton Heinen moved in, menacing, somehow attracting all 5 of the Kings players, at which point Heinen slipped the puck back on a diagonal to defenseman Jamie Drysdale in the high middle slot. Drysdale ripped a slapshot and it finds a way through goalie, Jonathan Quick’s pads and past his glove. Drysdale was coming up on the second wave of the attack, waiting for everything to happen in front of him.
With only one minute left, the Ducks pulled their goaltender to get a sixth man on the ice.
[3rd GOAL – KINGS (3-1)]: Ducks’ left-winger Max Comtois stuck against the boards, turns it over, trying to slip the puck out to the middle for a shot attempt. Kings’ right-winger Dustin Brown easily picks it off and flings a bullseye right into empty net from all the way down in his own zone.
[4th GOAL – KINGS (4-1)]: Another empty net goal, this time from King’s other right-winger Trevor Moore who put the motors on after teammate Adrian Kempe swept the puck out of the zone. Moore beat any other Anaheim player to the puck and tapped it into goal, effectively burying the Ducks for the night.
FINAL SCORE): Kings 4 Ducks 1
(GAME 2/Preview): Very high energy and fast pace. (1st Period): No score, only battles.
(2nd Period) [KINGS 1st GOAL/1-0]: Powerplay goal from Kings’ center Gabe Vilardi. A one-time attempt by Adrian Kempe with Trevor Moore in front was blocked by John Gibson (Ducks’ goaltender for the night). Moore dug the puck out while being harassed by two Ducks players and managed to slide it over to Vilardi whose man had just left him to stop Moore’s digging. Vilardi then scored the easiest goal of the season.
[KINGS 2nd GOAL/2-0]: Shorthanded…the Kings cleared their zone. Then, Kempe tracked the puck into the Anaheim zone behind Ducks’ defenseman Cam Fowler who was about to collect the puck when he realized Gibson had come out of net to do the same. Their sticks collided, and the puck squeaked free for Kempe who had sniffed it out like a hound. Kempe fired a shot at the empty net before being tripped by Fowler’s flailing stick. The puck rolled in for a goal, while Kempe rolled into the boards, annoyed but satisfied, nonetheless.
[DUCKS 1st GOAL/2-1]: Ducks’ center Sam Carrick moved in hard on the left wing, puck extended out to his side, protecting it from Los Angeles defenseman Tobias Björnfot, when the puck suddenly slipped loose from Carrick’s stick and barely squeaked underneath Cal Petersen’s pads (Kings’ goaltender), and into the back of the net. Now, everything came to halt, and the play is reviewed, because Carrick collided with Petersen and knocked him flat on his back. The question is: Did Carrick’s contact affect Petersen’s ability to defend the puck, or was the puck already on its way in? And, the decision – it’s a goal. No question. But it had to be reviewed, just to be safe.
[DUCKS 2nd GOAL/2-2]: Sam Carrick returned. He ended up with the puck behind the Kings net after a dump-in. Turning around, he centered a pass to fellow Ducks’ offenseman Sam Steel who delayed, seeing everyone bunched up down by net. Steel shoots and scores, tying the game. The middle slot had opened up once again because four Kings were down backchecking, and normally that’s fine to protect home plate, but this time they got caught.
Photo Credit: @anaheimducks Twitter
(3rd Period): [DUCKS 3rd GOAL / 2-3]: Anaheim’s Cam Fowler walked in from the line at even strength. He headed to the boards on the right, then doubled back. Two of his guys fly down low and effectively take their men with them, creating a tiny window for Fowler to skate into. Fowler cut to the middle and proceededto put the puck between Kings’ Andreas Athanasiou’s legs (who’s admittedly much more of an offensive player than a defensive player), and Fowler shoots low, scoring the winning goal with only a minute left in regulation! A spectacular Individual effort to secure the victory.
(FINAL SCORE): Ducks 3 Kings 2
(Playoffs Forecast): The teams split the two games of this Part 1 of our coverage at the Staples Center. The King’s playoff window is narrowing with each passing Conference match-up. They are now in 7th place with the Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks ahead of them, respectively. The probability of the their getting into the playoffs are somewhere between 2% and 3%. The next time the Kings faced the Ducks was on 4/30 and 5/1, in Part 2 of the 4 game series, at the Honda Center.
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