The Southern California turf battle resumes Monday when the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks play the first of two consecutive games this week.
Both teams are coming off much-needed overtime victories as they meet in Anaheim just over a month after the Ducks earned a 3-1 victory at Los Angeles.
The Kings’ 4-3 victory Saturday at home over the St. Louis Blues ended a four-game losing streak and came on a goal from Adrian Kempe, 1:45 into extra time. Los Angeles was able to rally from a 3-0 deficit with two goals from Anze Kopitar and another by Matt Luff.
Kopitar leads the Kings with 28 points (six goals, 22 assists) and took charge when the Kings needed to get going, contributing an assist on Luff’s game-tying goal in the second period.
“No one man does it by himself, but when your top player or players decide that they got to reel a game back in and do it the right way, it’s real easy to follow,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “When the alpha decides to play the right way, everybody else follows, and that’s tremendous leadership shown by him and a few others tonight.”
The Kings followed a promising six-game winning streak with the four-game losing streak that just came to an end, but Kopitar has been doing all he can. The veteran of 15 seasons has a four-game point streak with two goals and five assists during the run.
While Kopitar has a point in 17 games this season, he did not have one in 21 minutes of ice time in the loss to the Ducks on Feb. 2. It is one of six games where he has not recorded a point this season.
The Ducks pulled off that victory over the Kings thanks to 20 saves from John Gibson. Danton Heinen, David Backes and Nicolas Deslauriers all scored goals.
The late goal was especially satisfying for Deslauriers, who started the game with a tone-setting fight with the Kings’ Kurtis MacDermid mere seconds after the opening puck drop. The pair also fought the last time the teams met in the 2019-20 season.
But Deslauriers has been a healthy scratch the past three games as the Ducks search for answers. MacDermid has not played since Feb. 26.
It appeared the Ducks found part of what they are looking for Saturday when Troy Terry scored two goals and Ryan Getzlaf had the game winner in overtime as the Ducks earned a 5-4 road victory over the Colorado Avalanche to end a nine-game losing streak (0-6-3).
The Ducks trailed 4-2 when Terry scored with just under seven minutes remaining and Kevin Shattenkirk tied it on a power play with 2:50 remaining.
Rickard Rakell had an assist on the tying and winning goals, while Adam Henrique also had two assists. Rakell has three goals and six assists during a five-game points streak.
“I think the relief in our locker room is good,” Getzlaf said. “It takes a little tension off. We’ve been battling the last … five or six games, playing pretty good hockey. Just coming close was getting really old.”
–Field Level Media