LOS ANGELES — After two solid performances against Nashville and Vancouver, the Los Angeles Kings lost much of the mental edge they gained they displayed in those two games in a sloppy, 2-1 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks at Staples Center on April 3.
Jack Johnson scored on the power play at 19:40 of the first period, but that would be one of the few high-quality scoring chances by the Kings.
After a scoreless second period, Ducks forward Saku Koivu tied the game at 18:28 of the third period, with Ducks goalie Curtis McElhinny on the bench for the extra attacker.
The game went into a shootout, with the Kings shooters doing little to challenge McElhinny, who easily stopped Anze Kopitar, Johnson and Dustin Brown.
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick put in a strong performance and in the shootout, he stopped Ducks forwards Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry, only to be beaten by Koivu in the third round, giving the Ducks the victory.
In many games over the past six weeks, effort, intensity and urgency were the biggest problems for the Kings. This time, they simply did not play a smart game.
Indeed, turnovers at the Anaheim blue line or high in the Anaheim zone, shoddy neutral zone play and poor puck support prevented the Kings from establishing much of a forecheck and generating pressure in the offensive zone, let alone quality scoring opportunities.
The Kings (44-27-7, 95 points) remain in seventh place in the Western Conference. With four games left in their regular season schedule, the Kings are one point behind sixth-place Detroit and three points behind fifth place Nashville.
The Kings have two games in hand on Nashville.
The Kings are six points ahead of seventh-place Colorado and ninth-place Calgary.
The Kings magic number to clinch a playoff berth is now three. If the Flames lose at Chicago on April 4, the Kings will lock up a playoff spot for the first time since 2002, as the Flames will be unable to catch the Kings in wins, even if they tie in points.
- The Kings have clinched the season series against the Ducks for the second straight season. The Kings are 3-1-1 (seven points) and the Ducks are 2-3-0 (four points) with one game remaining between the teams on April 6 at Anaheim.
- Randy Jones has assists in three straight games.
- Johnson has four points in the last four games (goal, three assists).
- Ryan Smyth has eight points in the last eight games (two goals, six assists).
- The Kings are now 29-0-1 when leading after two periods and 34-7-4 when scoring first.
- Brown played in his 100th consecutive game (streak started February 27, 2009).
- The Kings are now 14-6-2 against the Pacific Division.
- The Kings have now had 95+ points in a season five times (1974-75, 1980-81, 1990-91 and 2001-02).
Audio Interviews (raw, unedited)
Jonathan Quick (2:04)
Anze Kopitar (2:13)
Terry Murray (3:24)
Game Highlights From NHL Video On YouTube
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