RECAP: Ducks beat LA Kings 4-2 in feisty Freeway Faceoff
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ondrej Kase had two goals and an assist, John Gibson made 23 saves and the Anaheim Ducks held off the Los Angeles Kings in the third period for their first victory of the season in the Freeway Faceoff rivalry, 4-2 Saturday night.
Ryan Kesler scored a power-play goal and Corey Perry added an empty-net goal as the Ducks returned from their bye week with a physical, entertaining victory over the equally rested Kings in the 135th edition of the local derby.
Nick Shore and captain Anze Kopitar scored in the third period for Los Angeles, but the Ducks hung on to win after losing both of their first two matchups with the Kings this season in extra time.
Kase had an outstanding return from a three-game absence before the bye due to the flu. The Czech forward scored in the first and third periods of the first three-point game of his NHL career.
Jonathan Quick stopped 18 shots for the Kings, who have lost three straight. Second-place Los Angeles also missed the chance to gain ground on the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights, who lost to Edmonton in overtime.
Both teams entered the showdown with perhaps a surplus of emotion, although that’s no surprise. The clubs engaged in three fights during four seconds of clock time during the third minute of the first period.
The Ducks took the lead when Kase slipped a long wrist shot past Quick’s short side just 6:14 in.
Kesler then capitalized on a power play, firing the puck past Quick’s glove hand for his second goal in his seven-game season. The veteran two-way center missed Anaheim’s first 37 games while recovering from offseason hip surgery, returning right after Christmas.
Kase made it 3-0 early in the third after a heady play by Nick Ritchie, who followed Quick behind the net and stole the goalie’s clearing attempt. Ritchie came out with the puck and made a pass to Kase before Quick could get back in the crease.
Kase’s goal was his fifth in his last seven games.
Shore ended Gibson’s shutout bid with 11:28 to play when his imprecise shot off Christian Folin’s pass somehow found the hole between Gibson and the near post. Shore ended a 27-game goal drought since Nov. 7.
Kopitar then scored on a one-timer from the slot with 6:14 to play, pulling even with Tyler Toffoli for the team lead with his 18th goal.
Perry ended it with a remarkable empty-net goal from the far faceoff circle.
NOTES: Before the game, the Kings honored longtime announcer Bob Miller with a statue in Star Plaza outside Staples Center and a banner in the rafters. Miller was the voice of the Kings from 1973 until his retirement last summer. … With Kase back from injury and Jared Boll in the lineup for a physical game, Anaheim scratched forwards Logan Shaw and Derek Grant. Shaw sat out for only the second time in the Ducks’ 45 games, and Grant was scratched for only the third time all season. … Kings D Jake Muzzin sat out again with an upper-body injury incurred Jan. 8 against Calgary. Kevin Gravel took his place.