On Sunday night, Jan. 17, 2016 the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Anaheim Ducks by a final score of 3-2 in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 17, 227 at Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. For these two Pacific division rivals, this was the first of five ‘Freeway Faceoff’ meetings which will take place during the 2015-16 regular season.
Both teams came into the game, having recently made significant changes to their respective rosters. Most recently, the Anaheim Ducks traded forward Carl Hagelin to the Pittsburgh Penguins, in exchange for forward David Perron and defenseman Adam Clendening. The trade was finalized in the hours following the Ducks’ 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars just two nights earlier, on Friday, Jan. 15.
As for the Kings, on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016 they acquired forward Vincent Lecavalier and defenseman Luke Schenn from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for forward Jordan Weal and a third round pick in the upcoming 2016 NHL Entry Draft. More recently, on Saturday, Jan. 16 the team announced they had come to terms on a new 8-year contract extension for star forward Anze Kopitar.
On this night, Perron was in the lineup for Anaheim, as were Lecavalier and Schenn for Los Angeles. This was a tense battle, with a playoff atmosphere. As has become customary in this game between the freeway-close rivals, there were a generous number of Kings fans in attendance.
The first period was scoreless and the shot totals were economical, as the Kings outshot the home team 7-5. In the second period, goals were scored in clusters. Lecavalier opened the scoring, when he set up next to the Anaheim net and took a pass from Jeff Carter. Lecavalier put the puck by Anaheim netminder John Gibson, just 57 seconds into the period. The lead was short-lived, as Ducks’ forward Rickard Rakell tipped teammate Shea Theodore’s slap shot past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, 33 seconds after the Kings had opened the scoring. Fortunately for the Kings, they got both goals in the next cluster.
Kings forward Tyler Toffoli scored at 15:44 of the second period and Kopitar added another tally, less than two minutes later. When the period came to a close, the Kings held a 3-1 lead after having outshot Anaheim 12-11. The Kings knew all to well, that this was not a safe lead; just one day earlier, they led the Ottawa Senators by the identical score, but gave up four goals in the third period and wound up losing by a score of 5-3.
The third period may have felt a bit ominous for Kings fans, when Anaheim newcomer David Perron scored at 5:33 to make the score 3-2, but the Ducks could get no closer despite outshooting the Kings 16-7 over the final 20 minutes. As has become his forte, Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick was outstanding at the most crucial time of the game.
Kings notes – Vincent Lecavalier scored a goal for the second time in as many games. The Kings now have a record of 28-13-3 after 44 games played, and lead the Pacific division by 10 points over the second-place Arizona Coyotes. The Kings next game will be a home game against the Dallas Stars, at STAPLES Center on Tuesday, Jan. 19. The next meeting between the Kings and Ducks will be played on the Kings home ice on Thursday, Feb. 4.
Jan. 17, 2016 – LA Kings 3, Anaheim Ducks 2. Final shots on goal: ANA 32, LAK 26. Power play: LAK 1/2, ANA 0/3. Three stars of the game: 1) Anze Kopitar – LAK, 2) Rickard Rakell – ANA, 3) David Perron – ANA.
Kings forward line combinations:
Kings defense pairings: