Ducks Clinch Home-Ice Advantage While Kings Slip
Stop the presses! Oh wait, this is a blog. Never mind that. Call ESPN! Get Rachel Nichols! Get Colleen Dominguez! Pedro Gomez! Ed Werder! The Los Angeles Kings scored a power-play goal! Yes these Los Angeles Kings who haven’t scored with a man-advantage since their best player Anze Kopitar went down two weeks ago scored an actual goal in a regulation game on the power-play!
Not that it helped them win their final regular season game against the Anaheim Ducks who took it to the Kings in their 3-1 victory. The Kings were outplayed by the Ducks for the majority of the first two periods and couldn’t comeback.
“It’s just disappointing we didn’t have the handle to take control of our destiny in the last couple of games,” head coach Terry Murray said.
Take the first period when the Kings had four power-play chances. Granted they got off nine shots-on-goal, but most of them came harmlessly from the perimeter making Ducks’ goalie Dan Ellis look like a Vezina Trophy candidate.
“We’re just trying to make one play too many,” Murray said of his team’s inability of in the power-play. “When we’re shooting the puck, we’re trying to score from the outside. In those situations, it’s more important to get the puck to the net and make the goaltender make a stop.”
Take a face-off loss in their zone during four-on-four play. Brandon McMillan shot the puck, got his miss and batted it Andre Ethier-style for his 11th goal of the season at 13:27 in the first period.
A couple of minutes later, the Ducks added a power-play goal by Saku Koivu on a nifty no-look pass by Hart Trophy candidate Corey Perry.
By the time Francois Beauchemin added another power-play goal at 8:54 in the second period, it was already too late for the Kings to take advantage.
With the Phoenix Coyotes losing to San Jose and the Nashville Predators losing to the St. Louis Blues, the fourth seed and home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs were wide open for the Kings to take. Instead the Ducks waddled on by and snatched it away.
“I don’t think anyone picked us to have home ice advantage at any point, but it’s funny how things fall into your lap when you win your fair share of games,” Ducks’ head coach Randy Carlyle said. “It’s back to our players, they’ve worked extremely hard and stayed committed and they’ve earned this.”
And the Kings, who two days ago were sitting in fourth seed, drop down to the seventh seed. If the Chicago Blackhawks win or lose in overtime or the shootout against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, the Kings will fall to the eighth seed and face the 117-point Vancouver Canucks in the first round.
“Vancouver’s been the top team all year,” Dustin Brown said. “It definitely makes it more difficult.”
But Brown isn’t going to get too down about things.
“It’s the NHL playoffs and I don’t think there is any easy series for anybody,” he said. “It’s a new season. Everyone can hit the reset button and get ready to go because all the 82 games we played are irrelevant.”
By the way, it was Ryan Smyth who scored the power-play goal at the end of the second period. Jack Johnson got an assist on the play recording his 100th NHL point.
Also notable when the game devolved into a KHL type game, Ducks’ resident Methuselah Teemu Selanne got his first fighting penalty of his career. The folks at hockeyfights.com note that Selanne in his rookie season with the Winnipeg Jets got into a kerfluffle with the Chicago Blackhawks’ Chris Chelios. Selanne didn’t receive a fighting major - just a slashing minor.