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Kings Shoot Out the Ducks

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In a night in the NHL that saw a lot of lopsided games, this first game of the Freeway Faceoff had all the makings of such. The Kings outshot the Ducks 37-24, a season-high 17 coming in the first period alone. But there everyone was in the seventh round of the shootout finally exhaling when Justin Williams scored and Kurtis Foster missed giving the Kings the 2-1 victory.

“It was nice to see us win the game,” Mike Richards said in the Kings’ dressing room filled with smiles.

I guess if you win an NHL game you can smile, but after seeing what happened on the ice for 65 minutes I wouldn’t be clicking my heels if I were the Kings.

They had plenty of five-on-five scoring chances but either by being too cute, completely missing the net or great saves by Ducks’ goaltender Jonas Hiller, the Kings got nothing. In fact the Kings’ lone goal came after Maxime Macenauer committed a stupid tripping penalty on Drew Doughty right after Andrew Gordon was sent for tripping Rob Scuderi. Mike Richards made the Ducks pay on the two-man advantage with the goal 43 seconds later.

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“Our power-play has been good all year,” Richards said. “Same as five-on-five, we got to get the puck on net as much as possible and we did that. We got a fortunate bounce off the end boards and capitalized on it.”

But the Kings’ inability to score on the five-on-five left the door open. Temmu Selanne scored on a late power-play in the third period to tie the game up allowing the Ducks to come away with a point.

“It’s tough giving up a point to a division opponent, but we got two,” Williams said whose tripping penalty on Cam Fowler set up the tying goal.

As for the Ducks, they should be thrilled to have gotten that one point. I wish I could describe accurately what I saw of them in the game, but even they left me scratching my head. Hiller allowed them to stay in the game, and they took advantage of the late Kings’ penalty.

“We got a point and we worked hard,” Ducks’ head coach Randy Carlyle said. “It’s one shot away in a shootout to be a difference maker and right now those things aren’t going our way. But if we work as hard as we did in this hockey game, in the last half of it specifically, then there is a light at the end of the tunnel for our group.”

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With the win the Kings sit in the middle of the Top Eight cluster of the Western Conference. It’s a place familiar to the Kings over the last couple of years, each year ending with a first-round playoff exit.

“The time is now,” reads the Kings promotional slogan that is plastered on billboards all over Los Angeles. It implies a better result this year compared to previous years. While it’s still early in the season if they continue to play like they have been, that slogan will be rendered to nothing more than a lie.

Perhaps they’ll be better Thursday night for the second game of the home-and-home series in Anaheim.

LA Clippers at San Antonio Spurs. Cancelled.

TONIGHT’S ACTION

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LA Kings at Anaheim Ducks. 7:00 p.m. FSWest (Kings Television), FS Prime Ticket (Ducks Television), AM 1150 KTLK (Kings Radio), AM 830 KLAA (Ducks Radio).

USC Trojans at San Diego State Aztecs. 7:00 p.m. AM 710 KSPN.

New York Knicks at LA Lakers. 7:30 p.m.