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LAst Night's Action: Kings Dethroned by Ducks in Shootout

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Anaheim Ducks defeat LA Kings 2-1 (SO). With the Angels beating the Dodgers 6-4 in the afternoon, the Ducks make it a clean sweep for Orange County with a 2-1 shootout win against the Kings.

The pace of the game was dictated by the Ducks from the start that made the flow uneven.

“There was no flow to the game,” Kings head coach Terry Murray said. “You get five guys back in the neutral zone like the way [the Ducks] were playing, it really boggles things down.”

As a result the Kings mishandled the puck all night long. Defenseman Sean O’Donnell made a pass to no one in particular by the Kings blue line which an alert Duck picked up. Scott Parse tripped over a pass in the Kings zone. While not as horrendous as other games since the Olympic break, it was clear they weren’t playing with the same intensity as the last two games against the Predators and Canucks.

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“We got ourselves in trouble with turnovers again,” Murray said. “It is a young group of guys that have a very hard time understanding how important it is to establish their parts of the game. We definitely have to learn from this one.”

Despite the Kings problems, they got a gift with Corey Perry being Corey Perry who was called for tripping with 1:55 left in the first period. Defenseman Jack Johnson took the gift and scored his seventh goal of the season with 20 seconds left in the period when his wrister deflected off of the Ducks Troy Brodie’s stick.

The rivalry reared its head much to the delight of the fans 8:41 in the second period. Wayne Simmonds and the Ducks Kyle Chipchura got into it on a dead puck in the neutral zone, but they were soon out staged by Raitis Ivanans and Scott Brookbank who took their fight to the boards in the Ducks zone opposite the bench.

But with the game winding down, the Ducks on a power play pulled their goalie Curtis McElhinney for a 6-on-4 advantage which they capitalized with Saku Koivu’s goal with 1:32 left in the game.

Jonathan Quick after resting the prior two games was the big reason the Kings held the 1-0 lead until the end of the game. With the Ducks swarming around the net, he made 32 saves.

“I felt a lot more comfortable and a lot more confident,” Quick said. “I thought I played well. It’s unfortunate we didn’t get two points.”

“He was really alert,” Murray said. “He found a lot of traffic around our net. But he found the puck from the blue line and looking through traffic. He looks like he’s back on top.”

Unfortunately Koivu yet again got to Quick in the third round for the lone goal of the shootout.

“Koivu has been taking over our number one center position,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “We’re desperate for points, and we have to continue to focus on what we can control.”

Murray on the other hand emphasized the Kings needing to dictate the tempo of the game.

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“We have to elevate our overall tempo of game,” Murray said. “Our spacing was again too big. We have to tighten things up and give each other support. We got away from all the good things we built up the last two games.”

The Kings will have a chance to avenge the loss in Anaheim on Tuesday.

Denver Nuggets defeat LA Clippers 98-90. The Clippers blew a 21-point lead against the Nuggets in the Mile High City to bring their road record to 8-32. Eric Gordon scored 23 points to lead the Clippers while Chris Kaman notched a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. For a while the Clippers appeared to be in the midst of blowing out the Nuggets when Travis Outlaw converted on a four point play with 8:07 left in the first half to give the Clips a 49-28 lead. But the Nuggets pulled it together and rallied to prevent the Clippers from winning the season series.

Notable Notes

  • The Butler University Bulldogs has advanced to the finals of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament after defeating Michigan State 52-50. As always the Bulldogs were beat on the glass 34-30. The Bulldogs were also less effective on offense shooting a paltry 30.6% compared to the Spartans 42.9%. However their defense got 12 steals off the Spartans and was +8 on the turnover margin.
    Perhaps the best description of Butler’s performance came from Fox Sport Radio’s Matt “Money” Smith on Twitter: “Brad Stevens and Butler are Jacques Lemaire and the 95 Devils. Not pretty. Defense first. Everyone complains. But they win.”

    They may not have the prestige or play in a power conference, but this Butler team in definitely not a Cinderella team. This is a team that beat Syracuse, Kansas State and now Michigan State in the Tournament, and Ohio State and Xavier in the regular season. In previous seasons they have beat Xavier, Ohio State, Michigan, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Indiana, Tennessee, Gonzaga and Purdue. It’s completely inaccurate to say that this program has come out of nowhere. Anyone who has paid attention to college basketball the last several years could have seen this coming.

    With Duke clobbering West Virginia 78-57 in the other Final Four game, Butler will now face Duke on Monday night for the whole enchilada. Mmm. Enchiladas.

  • Tonight’s Action

    San Antonio Spurs at LA Lakers. 12:30 pm ABC, AM 710 KSPN.

    New York Knicks at LA Clippers. 6:30 pm FS Prime Ticket, AM 980 KFWB.