Los Angeles Hockey: Corey Perry

Hats off, GM Murray, for locking up Perry

March, 19, 2013

And just like that, the biggest name that could have been moved before the April 3 deadline has been scratched off the trade market list.

Corey Perry is staying put in Anaheim thanks to a $69 million, eight-year contract extension announced during Monday night’s Sharks-Ducks game.

Score one for the underdog, GM Bob Murray.

Most team executives and agents around the NHL didn’t think he could sign both his potential unrestricted free agent stars, Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Maybe one, many said, but likely not both.

Of course, it cost the Ducks a healthy sum to pull it off. As in $8.625 million on average per season for Perry, and earlier this month, Getzlaf got reeled in for $8.25 million a year, also over eight years. That’s $135 million for two players from 2013-14 through 2020-21.

Here’s the crazy part: Perry likely would have gotten more on the open market, as in at least $9 million a year, if he truly was exposed to all 30 teams in the league come July 5.

The Toronto Maple Leafs would have been all over the 2011 Hart Trophy winner, with the likes of Detroit and Philadelphia probably not far behind.

Two months ago, I would have told you there was little chance Perry would sign before the trade deadline. That was the feeling most people around the league had, as well. But there's no question Anaheim’s surprising season, which has seen the Ducks challenge for first overall, had a profound impact on Perry and his decision to skip free agency.

Last summer, Perry was also presented with a massive offer from the Ducks, but sources say he didn’t want to commit yet. After a couple of disappointing seasons for the Ducks, it was certainly within Perry’s rights to be a little patient before deciding whether Anaheim remained committed to winning.

Smart offseason additions by Murray -- Sheldon Souray, Daniel Winnik and Bryan Allen, plus the emergence of Swedish goalie Viktor Fasth -- helped the Ducks fill some holes.

Getzlaf’s re-emergence as one of the NHL’s premier No. 1 centers is certainly no small factor, either. The Ducks' captain signed his extension March 8, putting all the spotlight and pressure squarely on his linemate, Perry.

And you knew Murray and the Ducks' front office would take one last run at Perry contractwise before deciding whether to put him on the trade market.

Make no mistake: Murray would have looked at what Perry’s value would have been on the trade market if he hadn't signed. It doesn’t mean Murray would have dealt the star, but he would have inquired.

After losing Justin Schultz for nothing last summer to free agency, the Ducks were not too thrilled at the thought of losing another major asset and getting nothing in return come July. You can’t keep losing key assets that create gaping holes in your organization.

Murray, in fact, had chatted with Nashville GM David Poile about his experience with the Ryan Suter saga a year ago, which ended with the Predators ultimately deciding to keep the star blueliner and pending UFA because they held out hope they could still sign him after the season. You can imagine what Poile would have had to say to Murray in retrospect.

Perry understood everything at play. He decided if the deal was right, he’d stay on.

Perry met with his agents, Mark Guy and Pat Morris of Newport Sports, on Wednesday in Dallas, had a long heart-to-heart and went over all his options. Perry went home to discuss it one final time with his family and phoned his agents Friday to tell them he had decided that if they could negotiate a deal, he'd stay on. That led to long negotiations all weekend between Newport and the Ducks.

Against the popular betting, the Ducks got it done.

Perry and Getzlaf, both signed, sealed and delivered.

The Ducks now have about $53 million committed to 16 players for next season. They’re about $11 million under the $64.3 million salary cap for '13-14 as they look to fill out next season's roster. Perry's deal, as part of the new CBA, has a no-movement clause that kicked in upon the signing of the extension.

People immediately hit Twitter after the Perry signing and suggested that Bobby Ryan was a goner this summer. But I do not believe that the Ducks feel they have to move Ryan's deal (two more years at $5.1 million per). The Ducks have expiring contracts on their roster and Ryan's deal easily fits into their plans. That's not to say if they get an offer they can't refuse they wouldn't listen, but a source close to the situation told ESPN.com Tuesday that the Ducks aren't going into the offseason with the idea of moving Ryan.

You also have to see what happens with veteran Finnish wingers Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne, both UFAs after the season, And, certainly in the case of the Finnish Flash, perhaps this is finally it. He won’t decide that until the summer.

For now, it’s all about a run at the Stanley Cup for the Anaheim Ducks, who have removed the gigantic distractions of the Getzlaf/Perry contract situations with two-plus weeks to spare before the trade deadline.

What a story indeed.

Need to know: Look out, here come the Ducks

March, 19, 2013

Move over, Chicago. It’s Anaheim’s time to shine.

Had it not been for the Blackhawks' sensational streak to start the season, the Ducks would’ve been the ones commanding all the attention as the league’s hottest (and frankly, most surprising) team out West.

Now they are finally getting their chance to hog the spotlight.

As ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun pointed out, it was a massive coup for the organization and Ducks general manager Bob Murray to lock up both Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to eight-year extensions, and the strength of their play this season was a big reason.

On the same night that the Ducks announced the eight-year, $69 million extension for Perry on the in-game scoreboard, the Ducks racked up their franchise-record 12th straight home win, topping the Sharks 5-3 in a well-rounded effort.

With Getzlaf, Perry, Teemu Selanne and Bobby Ryan, the Ducks have been a team that has boasted top talent in recent years, but it’s the contributions they’ve received up and down their lineup that have been the difference this season.

A glance at last night’s scoresheet is a prime example.

Defenseman Francois Beauchemin tallied twice for the Ducks, while Southern California product Emerson Etem scored his first NHL goal and both Peter Holland and Getzlaf (short-handed) chipped in with second-period markers of their own as the Ducks improved to 21-3-4.

Andrew Cogliano and Daniel Winnik, two pleasant surprises in providing secondary scoring for the Ducks, also found their way onto the scoresheet with one and two assists, respectively.

And let’s not forget goaltender Viktor Fasth, whose scorching start to the season continued as he collected his 11th win, turning away 32 of 35 shots.

Nabbing 17 of 20 points in the past 10 games (7-0-3), Bruce Boudreau’s Ducks are now nipping at Chicago’s heels with 46 points, only five points behind the Western Conference leaders.

Is it not impossible to suggest that Anaheim could close the gap and pass the front-runners before the regular season draws to a close?

Not only are the Blackhawks without Patrick Sharp, but the Ducks have the benefit of now playing eight of their next 12 games at home, including the next four straight.

And guess who is next up to make a trip to the Honda Center?

You guessed it, Chicago.

The Blackhawks enter Wednesday’s match on a three-game winning streak after Monday’s 5-2 win in Colorado, looking to create some separation at the top of the heap.

With these two teams battling for bragging rights in the West, it promises to be nothing short of one of the marquee matchups of the season.

Kings: Great start, better finish in 4-2 win vs. Ducks

March, 16, 2012

ANAHEIM -- It may have taken three-fourths of the season, but the Kings are finally playing well from start to finish.

They scored three goals in the opening period Friday night against the Ducks and held on to win their third straight game, 4-2, at Honda Center, keeping them in the thick of the six-team race for the final three playoff spots in the Western Conference.

“Our starts have been excellent,” said Justin Williams, who scored the final goal of the opening period with 7.1 seconds remaining. "Although we’ve kind of made them interesting a little bit of late, we’ve still been able to close them out, so I think our starts have been a real key to our success."

They couldn’t say that before acquiring Jeff Carter in a trade Feb. 23. In fact, they were by far the lowest-scoring first-period team in the NHL at that point.

In the 10 games since Carter arrived from the Columbus Blue Jackets, however, the Kings have outscored their opponents, 17-6, in the opening period. In the previous 61 games, they managed just 28 first-period goals. They've since moved from 30th in the league in first-period scoring to 28th.

“It certainly helps to get your legs underneath you,” said Anze Kopitar, who also scored in the opening 20 minutes.

Carter didn’t score against the Ducks, but seems to be attracting enough attention that others are getting more scoring opportunities.

Alec Martinez gave the Kings a 1-0 lead just 2:40 into the game when he fluttered a point shot through traffic and into the net. Kopitar then scored at the 9:33 mark when he made a nice move around former teammate Lubomir Visnovsky and made an even better shot into the top left corner.

Williams finished off the first-period scoring when a turnover by Corey Perry turned into a 2-on-1 with he and Drew Doughty.

(Read full post)

Kings: Martinez, Kopitar, Williams score for 3-0 lead on Ducks

March, 16, 2012
After the 1st period:

Kings 3, Ducks 0

The good: Three points back of the final playoff spot heading into tonight, the Kings needed to get some early momentum and a three-goal lead certainly helps. They went up, 1-0, just 2:40 into the game on a point shot from defenseman Alec Martinez that knuckled through traffic and into the net. It was fourth-line rookie Jordan Nolan who cut in front of the crease with Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin in tow. That seemed to cause goalie Jonas Hiller to lose track of the puck because he acted like he never saw it coming. No assist for Nolan on the play but Colin Fraser and Matt Greene were given credit for one. The Kings took a 2-0 lead on a great individual effort by Anze Kopitar, who carried the puck with speed through the middle of the neutral zone and then appeared to surprise Ducks defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky by going wide. Kopitar made a great shot from the top of the left faceoff circle and beat Hiller up high on his glove side for his fifth goal in the last eight games. Greene received a second assist on the play, matching his career high for assists and points in a game. The Kings shut down Anaheim on its only power play of the period, extending their streak of kills to 33 straight. Shortly afterward, it appeared the Ducks might get into intermission trailing by just two, but Corey Perry, who was a game-time decision after sitting out the last two games with a right shoulder injury, tripped over the right skate of teammate Sheldon Brookbank as he skated backward with the puck in his offensive zone. He fell hard on his back and lost the puck to Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, leading to a 2-on-1 with Justin Williams. Doughty smartly held the puck until the last season and then passed it to Williams on the opposite post and he tucked it in the net with 7.1 seconds left in the period.

The bad: About the only head-scratcher for the Kings is, where was this offense two months ago? Their playoff situation would be a lot more secure if they would have averaged more than two goals a game for the first two-thirds of the season.

The in between: Scoreboard watching here at Honda Center and it appears Pacific Division leader Dallas is on its way to losing against the Blackhawks. If that score holds up and the Kings win, they would be just three points back of the division lead. Calgary is also down by two goals midway through its game against the Oilers. The Flames are one of three teams the Kings need to pass to move back into the top eight. Unfortunately, a win tonight won’t get them there.

Kings/Ducks: Plenty at stake in this Freeway Faceoff

March, 16, 2012

Kings (33-25 -12, 78 points) vs. Ducks (30-30-11, 71 points) at Honda Center, 7 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. New identity – After a strong push that began in early January and carried into March, it looks like the Ducks have finally run out time to climb back from their dismal start. It's not mathematically official, but all signs indicate they've taken on the role of spoiler. Anaheim fans would like nothing more than to see their team put a dent in the Kings’ playoff hopes, and you can bet they'll loudly support such an endeavor. Just two days ago, the Kings had the same number of points as eighth-place San Jose. As they sat idle, other contenders added to their total, dropping the Kings three points back of the final playoff spot with 12 games to play.

2. Howdy Doughty – Following his worst four-game stretch of the season, and quite possibly his career, Kings defenseman Drew Doughty played his best game Tuesday night in a 5-2 victory against the Red Wings, getting a goal, an assist and finishing with a season-high plus-3 rating. He was a combined minus-6 in the previous four games. Of all the teams in the league, Doughty owns the best plus-minus rating against the Ducks (plus-10), yet they’re also the only Western Conference team he has not scored against during his four-year career.

3. Mr. Big Shot – Kings center Jeff Carter has been good as advertised since coming over from the Blue Jackets last month in exchange for defenseman Jack Johnson. After failing to register a point in his first three games with the Kings, he has five goals and two assists in the last six. Carter’s presence has been especially noticeable on the power play, where the Kings have scored on six of 20 man-advantage situations for a lofty 30 percent success rate. Carter has two of those power-play goals. He also started his recent hot streak against the Ducks, scoring two goals in a 4-2 victory on March 3.

(Read full post)

Ducks: Third-period turnaround lifts Anaheim over Oilers, 4-2

March, 5, 2012

ANAHEIM -- Corey Perry said it was probably the worst period of the season. From his view in front of the net, Jonas Hiller thought the Ducks looked scattered and disorganized. Bobby Ryan half expected coach Bruce Boudreau to barge through the locker room door during the second intermission and give his team an earful.

Instead, the Ducks stayed calm after getting outshot, 22-8, and losing their one-goal lead in the second period. Ryan scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third on a power play, and Perry added two more in the final five minutes, lifting the Ducks to a much-needed 4-2 win against the visiting Edmonton Oilers at Honda Center.

With the victory, Anaheim moved to within five points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 15 games remaining.

“We needed something to pop,” said Ryan, who scored his 25th goal of the season. “We finally got a power-play goal, which has been ever elusive for us the past five games, so we were able to build off that.”

Ryan’s goal was a thing of beauty. He caught the Oilers off guard on a line change and Teemu Selanne made a perfect stretch pass. Ryan collected the puck at full speed while racing toward the right post, cut in front of the net and dove as he flicked a backhand high into the net 8:09 into the final period.

“I came in behind the play because it was a weird [line] change and they were selling the farm there a little bit with four guys on the rush all night,” Ryan said. “I wasn’t sure if Teemu was going to see me but he put it in the perfect place for me to just skate right into it and not lose any speed, and the rest was just trying to make a move that I’m comfortable making.”

With the assist, Selanne picked up his 1,398th point of his career, tying him with childhood idol and fellow Finn, Jari Kurri, for 19th all time in the NHL.

(Read full post)

Ducks hit the road on another high note

February, 8, 2012

ANAHEIM -- And then there were eight.

That’s the number of points separating the Ducks from the final playoff spot in the Western Conference following a 3-2 overtime victory Wednesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes at Honda Center, and it just happens to be the number of games Anaheim is facing on its upcoming season-salvaging trip.

The Ducks appeared to receive a nice send-off gift from the officials, who overlooked Corey Perry’s blatant trip on Hurricanes left wing Jussi Jokinen as he carried the puck out from behind his net midway through the five-minute overtime period.

Jokinen’s stumble resulted in a turnover and Perry quickly retrieved the puck. He passed it across ice to defenseman Sheldon Brookbank, who made the wise decision to get the puck back to Perry, the league’s leading scorer last season.

Perry pocketed the one-timer in the Carolina net for the third overtime winner of his career, and afterward certainly didn’t feel bad about the missed call. For the record, Carolina coach Kirk Muller said he was told by officials that Jokinen had tripped on the back of the net. That’s not what many others saw, including an irate Muller and several members of the Ducks.

“We’ve had calls against us all year and maybe that’s a turning point for us,” Perry said.

(Read full post)

The Kings' Jonathan Quick had 10 saves for Team Alfredsson and the Ducks' Corey Perry helped Team Chara pull off the big win in the 2012 NHL All-Star Game.

Kings' Jonathan Quick, Ducks' Corey Perry named All Stars

January, 12, 2012
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick was selected to his first All Star team Thursday morning, becoming the first netminder from the franchise to receive the honor in 31 years.

Ducks right wing Corey Perry was also one of 36 players chosen to play Jan. 29 in Ottawa. They will join six others already selected through fan balloting.

For the second straight season, the teams will be comprised through a player draft, orchestrated by a captain from either side.

Quick, a Milford, Conn. native who turns 26 next week, will join three other former Kings goaltenders who made All Star teams. Terry Sawchuck was selected in 1968, Rogie Vachon in 1973, ’75 and ’78 and Mario Lessard in 1981.

Quick is 18-11-6 this season and leads the league with six shutouts, including a franchise-record three straight in October. His 1.93 goals-against average is fourth-best in the league and his.934 save percentage is fifth.

He’s expected to be in net Thursday night when the Kings host the Dallas Stars at Staples Center.

Perry was selected to his second straight All Star Game and third overall. After winning the Hart Memorial Trophy last season as the league’s most valuable player and scoring a league-leading 50 goals, Perry got off to a slow start with just three goals and four assists in 11 games in October. He appears to be on another one of his hot streaks, however, owning four goals and two assists through four games this month.

His 18 goals on the season are tied for 12th in the NHL.

Kings/Ducks: Slava Voynov scores one for L.A.

December, 6, 2011
After the 2nd period:

Ducks 2, Kings 1

The good: The Ducks are 20 minutes away from just their fourth victory since Oct. 17 and the first under coach Bruce Boudreau. Before their fans can begin uncorking the champagne, however, keep in mind the Ducks have been consistently blowing leads lately. They were 15.9 seconds from escaping the second period with a two-goal advantage, but Kings rookie defenseman Slava Voynov scored off a generous pass from Dustin Penner after Anze Kopitar had cleared out the crease with a smooth drive to the net. Anaheim led by two goals with a period remaining Friday night against the visiting Philadelphia Flyers and lost in overtime, 4-3. They also led by two Sunday against visiting Montreal and lost that one too. Until the final minute, Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, who publicly laid into his defense after the loss against the Canadiens, had to be happy with what he had seen in front of him. The Kings have managed just 16 shots on net but as we’ve learned, there’s still a long way to go

The bad: Kings defenseman Drew Doughty added to his three first-period giveaways with a two-minute tripping penalty in the second period, the only power play of the game so far. The Kings front office is probably beginning to wonder when they will get their $7 million worth this season.

The in between: In a scary moment for the Ducks, leading scorer Corey Perry stayed down for a few moments after taking a cross check from Penner while prone on the ice. Penner, a former teammate of Perry’s, pressed his stick into Perry’s lower back and leaned into it with all 240 pounds. Perry looked pretty uncomfortable as he walked to the locker room, but emerged a few moments later to the relief of Anaheim fans. He later drew the tripping penalty on Doughty.

Kings/Ducks: Anaheim takes another two-goal lead

December, 6, 2011
After the 1st period:

Ducks 2, Kings 0

The good: Some nice stretches of non-stop action in the opening period as both sides keep a brisk back-and-forth pace. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau juggled his top two lines and got results from both. Anaheim claimed a 1-0 lead on a mistake by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who went behind the net to retrieve the puck then inexplicably passed it to Ducks forward Teemu Selanne. He didn’t waste any time getting it over to Bobby Ryan who had a better angle to beat the scrambling Quick and he did. Later in the period, Ryan Getzlaf won a battle along the boards with Kings forward Colin Fraser, skated out of the corner and spotted Corey Perry down low. Getzlaf put the pass right on Perry’s stick and he potted his team-high 12th goal of the season with 2:23 left in the period. Matt Beleskey, who replaced Ryan on the top line, had an assist on the play, the third straight game he has produced a helper.

The bad: Quick’s biggest weaknesses reared his head against. He made a number of similar mistakes behind the net last season but none were as glaring as his first-period turnover. Mistakes like those tend to stick in his mind and, sure enough, he gave up another goal about 10 minutes later. He has five saves on seven shots on goal. Not a good start. While on the subject of bad starts, the Kings highest-paid player, defenseman Drew Doughty, had three giveaways in the period and stands at a minus-1.

The in between: Back in the lineup for the Ducks is forward George Parros. He missed 13 games after undergoing surgery for a torn retina in his eye. It will be interesting to see if he drops the gloves with fellow heavyweight Kevin Westgarth of the Kings. They aren’t afraid to throw their bodies around so far, registering three hits each … The Ducks have blown two-goal leads in the first two games since Boudreau replaced Randy Carlyle as coach last week. Will the Ducks finally cloe the deal?

Kings/Ducks: This meeting has some issues

December, 5, 2011

Kings (13-9-4, 30 points) vs. Ducks (7-14-5, 19 points) at Honda Center, 7 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. Scoreless-fest? – The Kings are struggling to score more than two goals a game, and the Ducks can’t seem to keep the puck out of their net. Something has to give. At a time when both teams should be taking advantage of the lack of NBA games on the schedule, neither is delivering a particularly entertaining product. The Ducks came into the week tied with the Kings for 28th in the league in scoring, but have actually improved in that department lately. It's the Kings that have taken a step back, scoring two goals or fewer in five straight. What separates the teams in the standings are goals against. The Kings are fourth in the league, the Ducks are 26th.

2. Injury update – The Kings will need to find a way to get through another game without leading goal scorer Mike Richards and top shutdown defenseman Willie Mitchell. Richards went on injured reserve after taking a shoulder to the chin from Florida winger Sean Bergenheim on Thursday. Mitchell has a slight groin strain and is listed as day-to-day, but won’t play against the Ducks. More than ever, it’s imperative that other players step up. Dustin Penner scored his first goal in 28 games Saturday in a 2-1 loss against visiting Montreal, Justin Williams hasn’t scored in the last 17.

3. Line dancing – Kings coach Terry Murray reunited the No. 1 line of Anze Kopitar, Simon Gagne and Williams during practice Monday, dropping Dustin Brown back to left wing on the second line and Penner to left wing on the third. The Ducks, meanwhile, broke up their No. 1 line, moving Matt Beleskey up with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Bobby Ryan was sent to the second line with Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, hired last week to try and save the team from its downward spiral, seemed to blur the lines after a 5-3 loss Sunday night against Minnesota, saying, “The first line, if you want to call Getzlaf's line the first line, didn't seem like they were generating anything.” Ouch.

4. Doughty’s slow go – Murray didn’t beat around the bush when asked to evaluate the recent performances of young defensemen Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson. He said the duo needs to get more involved offensively and not be so hesitant to shoot. Doughty is under even more pressure to perform after missing training camp while his representatives squeezed the Kings into offering the richest contract on the team. Doughty has two goals and six assists in 21 games. It’s interesting to note, Doughty had one goal and six assists through 21 games last season, then blew up for three goals and 15 assists over the next 21.

5. Fighting words – Boudreau was once part of the Kings organization, coaching their AHL affiliate in Manchester from 2001-2005. Therefore, he’s no stranger to the I-5 rivalry that’s developed between the clubs. He summed it up by saying this of the impending match up: “I think there’s going to be a lot of hatred on both sides. When I was part of the Kings organization, they certainly didn’t like the Ducks. So now that I’m here, I certainly don’t like the Kings.” Enough said.

Ducks: Players get a feel for Bruce Boudreau

December, 1, 2011

ANAHEIM -- Ryan Getzlaf compared it to the first day of grade school. Bobby Ryan said it was more like a first date.

Whatever the occasion, the Ducks had the look of a team beginning anew during practice Thursday at Anaheim Ice, still mindful they were letting go of an important piece of the past.

Randy Carlyle, two months into his seventh season as coach of the Ducks, was fired Wednesday night within an hour of a 4-1 victory against the visiting Montreal Canadiens. He was immediately replaced by Bruce Boudreau, who was let go Monday as coach of the Washington Capitals.

The Ducks, who began Thursday with the second-worst record in the Western Conference, hope the move will provide a shot in the arm.

“It’s going to be a bit of an energy boost for us, hopefully,” Getzlaf said.

To read the full story on the team's first practice with Boudreau, click here.

Ducks: Randy Carlyle never saw it coming

November, 30, 2011

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Randy Carlyle stood outside the Anaheim Ducks' locker room Wednesday night at Honda Center, oblivious that he was about to be fired from a job he had held for a little more than six seasons.

He had just coached the Ducks to a 4-1 victory against the visiting Montreal Canadiens, only their second victory in the past 15 games and third since Oct. 17.

He was already thinking ahead to Friday night’s game against visiting Philadelphia.

Randy Carlyle
Jeff Vinnick/NHLI/Getty ImagesRandy Carlyle had coached the Ducks the last six-plus seasons before being fired late Wednesday night.
“My mandate is, now what do we do for the next one?” he said. “Because the next one is coming in a hurry, and that’s the most important one to me.”

He then walked down the hall toward his office, unaware that general manager Bob Murray was waiting outside the door.

Carlyle had guided the Ducks to the Stanley Cup title just four seasons ago but seemed to have lost his message with the team, which spiraled after a 4-1 start.

The Ducks have the Hart trophy winner from last season in Corey Perry, an All-Star goalie in Jonas Hiller, one of the top young centers in the league in Ryan Getzlaf and one of the most promising young defensemen in Cam Fowler, yet they went into Wednesday’s game with the second-worst record in the Western Conference.

There was much speculation before the game against Montreal that winger Bobby Ryan would be traded to shake up the team. Turns out Murray was devising another plan, reaching out to replace Carlyle with Bruce Boudreau, who was fired earlier in the week as coach of the Washington Capitals.

“The amount of things that have been going on outside the game has been a huge distraction,” Carlyle said during his postgame news conference. “Tonight, [the players] were rewarded and they deserved everything that they got.”

Unfortunately, Carlyle might have as well.

Kings/Ducks: Kopitar gets game winner in 5-3 victory

November, 17, 2011
Ryan GetzlafJeff Gross/Getty ImagesRyan Getlaf and the Ducks lost to the Kings for the second consecutive night, this time in Anaheim.

ANAHEIM -- Three players who weren’t even on the Kings last season helped their new team build a two-goal lead Thursday night against the Ducks, but it was one of the longest-tenured Kings who added the finishing touches.

Anze Kopitar scored with 3 minutes 1 second left in regulation, lifting the Kings to a 5-3 victory at Honda Center and putting them back atop the Pacific Division.

The goal came just seconds after Kopitar made a nice move in the crease to open up a side of the net, but he shot wide. He collected the puck again and came around the opposite side, getting stuffed on the first attempt but then lifting the puck into the net as a crowd of Kings and Ducks converged on the crease.

Simon Gagne also scored a short-handed goal for the Kings, Slava Voynov scored on a power play and Mike Richards at even strength and another short-hander into an empty net to help the Kings to their third consecutive victory and second in two nights against the struggling Ducks, who rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period only to lose for the ninth time in the last 10 games and 12th in 14.

Kings coach Terry Murray gambled by starting Jonathan Quick in goal on back-to-back nights, but he was just as sound as the night before, when he led the Kings to a 2-1 shootout victory against the Ducks at Staples Center.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle countered by sitting his No. 1 goalie, Jonas Hiller, in favor of backup Dan Ellis, and he wasn’t up for a second straight barrage of shots by the Kings.

After totaling 37 shots on goal in the victory Wednesday night against the Ducks, the Kings came back with 36 more against Ellis.

The Kings led, 2-1, after the second period and improved their record to 65-0-3 in the last 68 games when leading after two periods.

Voynov, recalled Monday after Alec Martinez went down because of an upper-body injury Saturday night against the visiting Wild, had a goal and an assist, giving him five points in seven games with the Kings this season. His goal turned out to be a big one, as Corey Perry cut the deficit to 3-2 with a power-play goal 8 minutes into the third period. Andrew Cogliano scored his second goal of the game with 6:25 left to tie the score, 3-3.

Voynov's goal early in the third period marked the sixth straight game the Kings have scored a power-play goal, their longest streak since the start of the 2009-10 season.

Andrei Loktionov, another 21-year-old Russian who was recalled from the AHL over the weekend as a replacement for the injured Dustin Penner, assisted on Richards’ goal for his first point of the season.

More to come from the locker room.