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Sunday, December 26, 2010
Kings/Ducks: All scoreless after one period

By Dan Arritt

After the 1st period:

Kings 0, Ducks 0

The good: Three cheers for the Staples Center change-over crew, which did a masterful job getting the rink ready following a Clippers’ game that ended about three hours earlier. Jonathan Bernier is in goal for the Kings and did a stellar job keeping the puck out of the net. Bernier has started just one other game since Nov. 24, a 6-1 victory in Nashville on Dec. 18. His biggest save came on a breakaway by Todd Marchant, set in motion when Drew Doughty was unable to control a puck that was passed back to him at the blue line.

The bad: Kevin Westgarth, the resident heavyweight enforcer for the Kings, is a healthy scratch and the Ducks seem to think they can get away with a little extra physical activity. Matt Beleskey, who was recalled just a few hours earlier from Anaheim’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse, dropped Kings captain Dustin Brown with a stiff straight arm to the face during a stoppage in play in front of the Anaheim goal, earning a two-minute roughing penalty. Unfortunately, the Kings didn’t get off a shot on goal during the ensuing power play. In fact, the biggest shot on the power play was delivered by another Anaheim youngster, Luca Sbisa, who laid a check on Anze Kopitar near Anaheim’s blue, stopping the Kings’ leading goal scorer in his tracks and dropping him on his back.

The in between: Except for a morning skate-around, the Ducks hadn’t stepped on the ice since they lost in Buffalo on Tuesday. Unfortunately, they looked like the sharper team for most of the period. It was until the closing minutes that the Kings seemed to step up their game. Justin Williams had an open side of the net to shoot at after Ryan Smyth’s slap shot ricocheted off Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, but he shot wide. Speaking of Hiller, he has now gone four periods without allowing a goal against the Kings this season.