Saturday, April 9, 2011
Kings get one back but still trail Ducks
By Dan Arritt
After the 2nd period:
Ducks 3, Kings 1
The good: THE KINGS SCORED A POWER-PLAY GOAL!! After failing to score on 22 consecutive power plays, they came through with 1:36 left. While Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman was in the box for holding, Kings forward Ryan Smyth sent an off-speed shot at Anaheim goalie Dan Ellis. The slow speed seemed to catch Ellis off guard. He deflected the puck off the cross bar, which then carrommed off his back, sending it across the goal line. Other than that, not much to cheer about on Fan Appreciation Day at Staples Center. At least the Kings secured their playoff spot last Saturday because if they had to get in tonight, they would be in trouble. Even with the late goal, this performance might be even worse than that of the Hurricanes earlier today. Carolina needed a win over Tampa Bay to secure the No. 8 seeding in the East but lost, 6-2, on its home ice, handing the New York Rangers the playoff spot. At least New Yorkers get to see some playoff hockey this season. California will have three teams in the playoffs, more than Canada (two).
The bad: Sixteen seconds after the best scoring opportunity to that point of the game, the Kings fell behind by three goals. Dustin Brown stole a pass from Teemu Selanne while teammate Kevin Westgarth was serving a two-minor minor for roughing. Brown went one-on-one with Ellis but he didn’t bite on Brown's fake and scooted the puck aside. Anaheim then re-set its power play and Francois Beauchemin sent a blast from the point through the legs of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick for a 3-0 lead with nearly 11 minutes left in the period. Quick gave up three goals on the first 12 shots, not a good percentage for a playoff goalie.
The in between: San Jose scored twice in the second period against visiting Phoenix to take a 2-0 lead. If that lead holds up and the Ducks maintain their advantage, the Ducks will finish fourth in the West and earn home ice for the first round of the playoffs beginning Wednesday or Thursday at Honda Center. The Kings would be looking at the No. 8 seeding if Chicago beats Detroit on Sunday morning, meaning they’d open in Vancouver, or a No. 7 seeding if Detroit wins, sending them on their way to San Jose for their playoff opener.