LOS ANGELES – Bobby Ryan’s one-man show wasn’t enough for the Anaheim Ducks against the Los Angeles Kings’ balanced attack
Alexander Frolov scored the go-ahead goal for Los Angeles on a power play after Ryan tied it with three straight goals, and the Kings won 4-3 on Thursday night.
“You always feel confident when you lead 3-0. We knew we were playing great and we deserved to win,” Anze Kopitar said. “We played a really good, solid team game. We gave up a couple of goals at the beginning of the third period, but we didn’t stop. We just kept working and scored a huge goal.”
Kopitar and Dustin Brown each had a goal and an assist, and rookie Wayne Simmonds also scored for the Kings. Rookie Jonathan Quick made 24 saves.
Ryan’s hat trick was the first by an Anaheim rookie, and the fastest by any player in the franchise’s 15-year history. His three goals came during a 2:21 span.
“I don’t think you ever expect to go out and do that,” Ryan said. “Quick is a buddy of mine, so I think I have bragging rights on him. But one more would have done the trick. It’s tough to succeed and have a good night when everybody else on the team isn’t going as well as they would have liked to.”
Ryan, who began the season in the minors and didn’t get called up until mid-November, triggered Anaheim’s comeback just 46 seconds before the second intermission when he beat Quick from a sharp angle to the left of the net while Jarret Stoll was serving a delay-of-game penalty for clearing the puck over the glass.
Ryan connected again 16 seconds into the third on a rebound after Quick stopped Ryan Getzlaf’s wrist shot from the right circle.
“We took a penalty that turned into their first goal and gave them momentum, and they carried that into the third period. But I wouldn’t say we were getting flustered,” Quick said.
The teams were skating 4-on-4 when Ryan got a pass off the left boards from Getzlaf and put a sensational 360-degree move around defenceman Peter Harrold before sliding his 11th goal of the season past Quick’s glove at 1:35 of the third. The second overall pick in the 2005 draft has scored seven of his 11 goals in the last 10 games.
“Bobby had a great game,” teammate Scott Niedermayer said. “You like to take advantage of an opportunity like that, when you have a guy that hot and he gets you back in the game and ties it up when you’re down by three, Unfortunately, we couldn’t finish it off.”
All of Ryan’s hard work went for naught when Frolov converted a rebound of Kyle Quincey’s shot from the top of the left circle with 12:17 to play, after the Kings were penalized for having too many men on the ice.
“Ryan had a few nice goals there and brought their team right back into it,” Quick said. “But you can’t control what already happened. It’s still a 3-3 game at that point, and your team still has a chance to win, so you’ve just got to focus on making the next save.”
The Kings were held to just one goal in their previous three meetings with their Southern California rivals – and that one came during a 5-on-3 power play in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss at Anaheim. But Los Angeles took a 2-0 lead on Brown’s goal with six seconds left in the first period and Simmonds’ goal just 37 seconds into the second period.
Brown’s 14th of the season came on a wrist shot from the middle of the right circle after the Kings’ captain got the puck from Kyle Calder and carried it across three lines.
“I liked what Brown did on the first goal. That was real a strong play, just an individual effort,” Kings coach Terry Murray said. “As soon as that happened, I put him back up there with Kopitar and made a few changes on the lines. There were a lot of things that happened in the game that were reasons why I went back to different lines then when I started.”
Simmonds also beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere to the stick side with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle, forcing Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle to bench Giguere for the third time this season.
“I didn’t think he was square to the puck on the first goal and I didn’t think he was square to the puck on the second,” Carlyle said. “In my mind, the puck should not go in from those angles on the stick side on both goals, so I made the decision.”
Kopitar gave Los Angeles a three-goal lead at 8:50 of the second, converting his own rebound after Jonas Hiller stopped his backhander in the low slot.
Notes: A 4.5 earthquake with its epicentre about 88 kilometres east of Staples Center in San Bernardino was felt in the press box about 12 1/2 minutes into the game. During the next play stoppage, the audio crew played Carole King’s “I Feel The Earth Move (Under My Feet).” … Each of Simmonds’ previous three goals this season came on his only shot of the game. This one came on his second shot. … Kings rookie C Oscar Moller, who helped Sweden win a silver medal in the world junior championship, was scratched because of a fractured clavicle that didn’t prevent him from playing in Monday night’s title game. … Anaheim is 3-4-2 since Teemu Selanne has been sidelined because of a lacerated left quadriceps. … When the Kings host Tampa Bay next Monday night, it will mark the first head-to-head matchup between the first two picks in the 2008 draft – Kings D Drew Doughty and No. 1 overall selection Steven Stamkos.