ANAHEIM, Calif. – Corey Perry and the Anaheim Ducks saw little reason to celebrate after ending the Los Angeles Kings’ franchise-record winning streak while maintaining a remarkable home streak of their own.
After all, this win was only redemption for all those mistakes in last week’s loss to the Kings – and it ended with Ryan Getzlaf hobbling home on crutches. Perry had a goal and two assists, and the Ducks snapped the Kings’ nine-game streak with a 4-2 victory on Monday night.
The last-place Ducks tied their franchise record with their 10th straight home win, but Getzlaf’s sprained left ankle sapped any joy from the dressing room. Moments after scoring during Anaheim’s three-goal second period, Getzlaf – a member Canada’s men’s Olympic hockey roster – skated sluggishly to the bench and didn’t return.
“When you have everyone going and then lose a guy, it’s tough,” said Perry, also a member of the Canadian team for Games.
“I mean, you can’t really replace a guy like that because he’s got tremendous skill and he’s a big body and he’s a great player. So it’s hard to replace him, but there’s guys who can step up and fill his role.”
Jonas Hiller made 35 saves, while Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu had a goal and an assist apiece for the Ducks, who have won 12 of 17 overall despite last Thursday’s 6-4 loss at Staples Center – but any extended absence by their top playmaking centre could be brutal. Though X-rays revealed no broken bones, Getzlaf will be re-evaluated with an MRI on Tuesday.
Anaheim dominated the second period despite several sparkling saves by workhorse Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who couldn’t bail out all of his teammates’ defensive lapses. Los Angeles, which rallied from a three-goal deficit against Detroit two days earlier, fell one victory shy of a club-record eighth straight road win against a club that hasn’t lost at home since Dec. 6.
“We have to win as many games as possible to have a chance to make the playoffs at all, so tonight was a really important one,” Hiller said. “Everybody saw tonight how much we wanted to win. Those three days off definitely were good for us. We showed right away that we had a lot of energy and tried to put pressure on them. They had chances to come back, and it was just a hard battle.”
The Kings took little notice of their winning streak while it was going on, so the loss also meant little – at least publicly. Oscar Moller and Anze Kopitar scored for the Kings, who hadn’t lost since Jan. 11 while rising to third place in the Western Conference. Los Angeles also had won five straight over Anaheim.
“It was definitely fun,” Kopitar said. “It was a good ride for us, but I thought they played a good hockey game. We just couldn’t get a bounce here and there, or it would have been different. I had some chances in the third, and if one of those pops in, it’s a different game.”
Quick stopped 29 shots for the Kings, but the NHL’s wins leader (34) remained one victory shy of tying Mario Lessard for the 29-year-old franchise record.
After Moller opened the scoring with a goal that ended his 15-game drought, the Ducks needed most of a 90-second 5-on-3 advantage to even it, with Quick making a few stunning saves before Selanne threaded the Kings’ defence with a low-angle shot. Selanne, who’s wearing a full cage to protect his broken jaw, has two goals in four games since returning from the injury.
Anaheim went ahead when Perry outhustled Davis Drewiske to a dumped-in puck and made a blind pass to Getzlaf for his 15th goal on a one-timer in front.
“The pace was pretty intense,” Kings coach Terry Murray said. “They brought the best that they could bring, and took it to us. I thought they brought the energy of a playoff game, and we had some mistakes that they capitalized off. Hopefully next time against them, we can match that.”
Moments after an apparent power-play goal by Perry was waved off and Getzlaf skated to the dressing room, Koivu scored in front with an assist from Selanne, his Finnish teammate at the Olympics next week.
Kopitar scored his 27th goal during a power play late in the second period, but Perry immediately replied with his 21st just 24 seconds later on a highly stoppable shot.
NOTES: Anaheim also won 10 straight home games in early 2008. … Kings D Rob Scuderi left with flulike symptoms. … Drewiske was back in uniform after missing 15 games with an upper-body injury. Drewiske had been out since Jan. 4 in San Jose. … Vesa Toskala was the Ducks’ backup goalie for the first time since Anaheim acquired him in a trade for Jean-Sebastien Giguere on Jan. 31. Toskala spent the past week delayed by immigration issues.