LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Staring down the prospect of an 0-3 series deficit, the Anaheim Ducks finally figured out a way to beat the Los Angeles Kings.
Even if that way involved a third-period goalie change, two unlikely power-play goals and another wild finish.
“It’s been like this all year,” Teemu Selanne said. “We sell tickets. You never know what’s going to happen in our games, but we’ve got to try to make it a little easier.”
Selanne scored the tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, Corey Perry got his first goal of the series, and the Ducks beat the Kings 3-2 on Thursday night to trim Los Angeles’ series lead to 2-1.
Anaheim snapped the Kings’ six-game post-season winning streak. Ben Lovejoy’s goal with 2:55 to play turned out to be the winner after two earlier goals from the Ducks’ long-struggling power play.
Mike Richards then scored for the Kings with 30 seconds left, but the top-seeded Ducks hung on for just their third win in their last seven playoff games.
“It feels good to put a seed of doubt in their mind, hopefully,” Lovejoy said. “The Ducks are coming.”
Game 4 is Saturday night at Staples Center.
Jonas Hiller made seven saves in the final 9:58 after rookie goalie Frederik Andersen left with a right leg injury for the Ducks, who bounced back from two narrow losses in Anaheim to open the series.
Andersen was solid in Game 3 until getting hurt during a wild scramble midway through the third period. Hiller had to make two tough saves immediately after entering the game, but the Swiss goalie finished strong despite Richards’ late goal on a midair rebound of Tanner Pearson’s shot while Jonathan Quick was pulled for an extra attacker.
“It’s a challenge for a goalie to come in like that, but it seems like this season is a lot of back-and-forth play,” Hiller said. “We were just glad we finally scored three goals in a game.”
Anaheim scored just three goals total in two games at Honda Center to open the local rivals’ first playoff meeting. The Ducks regained their edge Thursday, while the Kings struggled to respond in front of their home fans.
Jeff Carter had a goal and an assist, and Quick stopped 19 shots for the Kings, who hadn’t lost since Game 3 of their stunning first-round series against San Jose.
“Anytime you are down in a series, you are going to come in desperate, and we had to match that desperation,” Kings centre Jarret Stoll said. “I don’t think we did that. We didn’t have it tonight. We weren’t good enough in a lot of areas.”
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau curiously changed starting goalies for Game 3, replacing Hiller with Andersen, the Danish rookie who played poorly in all three road games in the first round against Dallas. Boudreau repeatedly said Hiller had played well against the Kings in the first two games, giving up just five goals, but Andersen beat Los Angeles three times in the regular season, while Hiller is winless in his career at Staples Center.
The Ducks didn’t have the same vociferous road support enjoyed by the Kings at Honda Center earlier in the series, but Anaheim still silenced Staples Center just 4:06 into Game 3.
Ryan Getzlaf got the puck down low to Patrick Maroon, who found Perry in the slot for his third goal of the post-season. Perry, second in the NHL with 43 goals in the regular season, hadn’t scored in the series.
The Kings evened it when Marian Gaborik set up a one-timer for Carter, who hadn’t scored a goal in the Kings’ last four playoff games.
Anaheim couldn’t score during a 4-on-3 advantage for 59 seconds late in the period, but Nick Bonino found Selanne with a saucer pass for the Finnish Flash’s 44th career goal in 126 post-season games.
Matt Beleskey went to the dressing room early in the third period after a hard hit on the boards by Kings captain Dustin Brown. The Ducks said Beleskey had a lower-body injury.
Lovejoy scored his second goal of the post-season on a 2-on-1 rush with Andrew Cogliano, sending Kings fans to the exits.
NOTES: Maroon extended his scoring streak to six games, the longest post-season streak by a rookie since Los Angeles’ Warren Rychel in 1993. … Anze Kopitar, who had an assist, has a point in all 10 of the Kings’ playoff games. The last Kings player with a 10-game point streak in a single post-season was Wayne Gretzky in 1993. … The Ducks are staying in a hotel across the street until Saturday, but they’ll take a bus 30 miles back home to Anaheim for practice Friday.