ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Phillip Danault scored the game-winning goal early in the third period, and the Los Angeles Kings cemented their hold on a playoff berth with a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Tuesday evening.
Jonathan Quick made 29 saves in an often spectacular performance, and Adrian Kempe scored the opening goal in the Kings’ third win in four games. Los Angeles is nearing the end of its three-season playoff drought, moving five points ahead of Vegas and Vancouver for third place in the Pacific Division.
“If we plan to play in a few weeks, we have to be comfortable (in this type of game),” Quick said. “Especially at this time of year, these games are more frequent. … It’s funny. Unfortunately, it’s been a few years, but we try to take advantage of it and seize the opportunity that is presented to us.
The Kings again struggled to shake off the Ducks in the third Freeway Faceoff of the season, and Quick needed to make 16 saves in his outstanding second period to keep the score tied.
“Looks like he’s been here before,” Los Angeles coach Todd McLellan said of his two-time Stanley Cup-winning goaltender. “He made some huge saves, obviously a lot of them shorthanded. Made them when he needed to calm us down. He feels really good in goal right now, and we feel really good with him in goal.
Los Angeles then took the lead 32 seconds into the third when Danault put his shot over a sprawling John Gibson in an open net.
The goal was initially called off because Viktor Arvidsson made contact with Gibson’s right pad after Gibson stopped Arvidsson’s shot, but video review overruled the call, giving Danault his 25th goal of the season.
Quick also had to make a handful of impressive saves in the third, including a steal from Ducks All-Star forward Troy Terry. The 36-year-old former Conn Smythe Trophy-winning goaltender continued his impressive game during his revitalized season in the Los Angeles net.
Quick’s victory was his 20th of the season, giving him nine NHL seasons with 20 wins – more than all but three American-born goaltenders in league history.
The Golden Knights and Canucks have a game in hand against Los Angeles, but Vancouver is the toughest opponent left on the Kings’ schedule. The Kings also pulled two runs behind Edmonton for second place in the Pacific, although the Oilers have two games in hand.
Adam Henrique scored a power-play goal and Gibson stopped 26 shots for the Ducks, who will miss the playoffs in four straight seasons for the first time in franchise history. Anaheim lost 17 of 20.
“I don’t think we were at our best,” Henrique said. “They were playing for their lives (in the playoffs), obviously. There was this feeling of tight control, but I don’t think we were too connected during the game. This is something we definitely need to improve. »
After a scoreless first period, Kempe gave the Kings the lead early in the second with an instant shot on a loose puck on a face-off. Kempe’s 34 goals are tied for second most by a player Los Angeles over the past 15 seasons, surpassed only by captain Anze Kopitar’s 35 goals in 2017-18.
Five minutes later, Troy Terry fed Henrique for his 18th goal on a deft backhand. Anaheim had several golden scoring opportunities while controlling most of the rest of the period, but Quick was adamant.
“When I think of the Kings-Ducks rivalry, I think of Gibson and Quick,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. “I thought they both got into it. It was very reminiscent of past battles. I thought Quick was very good, and Gibby was just there to match him.
The Southern California rivals meet this weekend in downtown Los Angeles.
Kings: Host the Blackhawks on Thursday.
Ducks: At Kings on Saturday.