Kings Pluck Ducks in Preseason Showdown at Staples
There is no mercy rule in preseason hockey. Before the first ten minutes ticked down in the first period, the game was essentially over as the Kings scored two power-play goals within 38 seconds of each other. Although the Ducks would attempt to make it a respectable scoring two goals in the final three minutes, the Kings still imposed their will demolishing the Ducks 8-3.
“We just had a terrible night,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “We didn’t do anything to start, to build on.”
The nothingness was started by the ever-reliable Ducks’ forward Corey Perry got the first penalty of the game - slashing at 5:48 in the first period. The Ducks topped that off 40 seconds later with a puck over the glass penalty giving the Kings a 5-on-3 man advantage.
The Kings took made sure to take advantage with Dustin Brown scoring with six seconds left in the 5-on-3 advantage. Not one to let a good opportunity go to waste, Wayne Simmonds 38 seconds later took a rebound off of Michal Handzus for a power play goal.
And that was all she wrote.
“We got off to a pretty good start,” captain Dustin Brown noted. “Our power-play was really good tonight.”
Ryan Smyth and Jack Johnson added two more even-handed goals to close out the first period making it very apparent that the Ducks are in for a long season.
Even though they played their back-up goaltender Curtis McElhinney, it’s clear that the first goalie Jonas Hiller will be very active with the Ducks defense turning into spectators.
Carlyle tried to be zen about it. “You always look at the emotions of the game, which are pretty front and center right now, but in the end you still have to take you’re analysis and say did this guy do anything right?”
As for Murray, despite the blowout he still had enough to take away from the game.
“Scoring on the power play is part of the game you have to get going,” Murray said. “You don’t normally get a lot of practice time in that area, and to get some results on that really reinforces what the coaching staff is trying to get to.”
Murray also noted that more game time means more ability to come to a decision on the final roster spots on the club.
“We’ve got some players who are showing us that they’re hungry for the job. But I’m not going to lose sight over the fact that the group of guys that were here last year were a pretty good group and had a good year. We have a couple of spots we are looking for in the lineup. There’s going to be some player that’s going to be very happy and some that going to be very disappointed. But that’s the way it is. That’s competition, that’s depth in the organization, that’s heading in the right direction. It’s a great decision to have to make.”
One player that created quite a spark was forward Brayden Schenn who made a fan out of the 12,520 at Staples Center with his fight against Ducks’ defenseman Luca Sbisa with 1:11 left in the game.
“I fought [Sbisa] when he was 16, about three years ago,” Schenn said. “It was a good fight, and that’s two pretty good fights we’ve had.”
Sbisa elaborated, “We used to play against each other in the playoffs, and we played against each other first year of juniors. Every time we play against each other we go against each other pretty hard.”
As for Schenn’s play, although his stat sheet looked pretty bare with one shot on goal and one takeaway in 14:41, he was all over the place asserting himself.
“Schenn in particular I thought grabbing the opportunity to move up with more of a skilled player on both sides really took advantage of it,” Murray said. “In the end he kind of surprised me with what he did.”