Los Angeles Hockey: Jonas Hiller

Ducks sticking with Gibson for Game 5

May, 11, 2014
May 11

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- After starting three different goalies in three straight games, Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau decided to alleviate any suspense on Sunday.

The kid stays in, obviously, after a 28-save shutout.

"Well, I kind of believe that it's not a difficult decision," Boudreau said with a smile. "I'm not going to try to play that game. He came in. He played great. He's going to go again."

Boudreau said he told John Gibson on Friday night that he was the starter for Game 4, and told a disappointed Jonas Hiller the news on Saturday morning.

While his face could not hide his disappointment Sunday, to Hiller’s credit he said he was willing to accept whatever is good for the team, that he just wants to be supportive of his teammates.

Prodded Sunday to find out why he made the decision to start a rookie without NHL playoff experience, Boudreau was asked about playing in the AHL in the mid-1980s when his club was upset by a 19-year-old goalie in the playoffs.

"We lost to Patrick Roy that year," Boudreau said. "And then we've also done the same thing coming out of juniors to Carey Price in the American League (2007 AHL playoffs), where he beat us in the championship. You know young kids can do it. They just come up and they're ready. And those two that I just mentioned obviously were very special goalies. I think, and I don't want to hype him too much, this is what they've been talking about him for the last three years."

The Price-Gibson comparisons have already begun, in large part because both are so calm and cool.

"Nothing seems to bother him and that was the thing I first saw with Carey Price," Boudreau said. "In that [AHL] series, you couldn't faze him. He'd just move and make all the saves look easy. Consequently he's gone on to be one of the best."

Ducks' injuries

Boudreau said center Mathieu Perreault (lower-body injury) would be a game-time decision Monday night. But Boudreau said injured winger Matt Beleskey and injured goalie Frederik Andersen would sit. Both players suffered lower-body injuries in Game 3 and did not play in Game 4.

Kings look to rebound

Meanwhile, out at the Kings' training facility in El Segundo on Sunday, a veteran team looked to recharge after dropping two straight.

Head coach Darryl Sutter had some fun, too.

"Yeah, I’m not rattled. I’m just thankful I’m alive today. I’m fortunate to pull through after the devastating loss [Saturday] night," Sutter said before pulling a M.A.S.H. reference out of his repertoire. "Radar and Hawkeye had to get me up to come here today."

Point taken. This is a team that has seen it all, won a Cup two years ago, went to the conference finals last year and erased a 3-0 series deficit to San Jose in the first round this year.

Losing two straight to rival Anaheim is not going to rattle this playoff-savvy group.

"It’s the best-of-three. Nothing wrong with that," veteran center Jarret Stoll told reporters Sunday. "They’re a great team. They had the best record in the West, No. 1 seed, whatever they were. So they’re a good team. We know that. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We can say that. It’s a series now. A good, positive day today. We came in and the boys were in good spirits. Get ready to win a road game."

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.

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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.

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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.

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Kings: Good right to the last drop in win vs. Ducks

March, 4, 2012

LOS ANGELES--On a night in which Jeff Carter scored his first two goals for the Kings, Mike Richards matched his season-high with three assists and Dustin Brown continued his post-trade deadline scoring tear, L.A. wasn’t about to let this must-win get away.

Instead of digging in their skates and forming a defensive shell in the closing minutes of a one-goal game Saturday night at Staples Center, they mounted an attack on the visitor’s net, finishing off the game and possibly Anaheim’s playoff hopes with a 4-2 victory.

“The best way to fend off, especially in a desperate game, is to try and play in the offensive zone,” Brown said. “It just wears on their top players ... They don’t have enough energy, hopefully, to mount a comeback.”

A game after totaling a season-low 16 shots on net in a 4-0 victory Tuesday in Minnesota, the Kings were sitting on 14 shots on goal with just over seven minutes remaining against Anaheim. In a 21-second span, however, Richards, Dwight King and Carter shot the puck at Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller and maintained the offensive-zone pressure until Anze Kopitar salted the win with an empty-net goal in the closing seconds.

“That’s the best defense right there,” said defenseman Matt Greene.

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Ducks: Second-half run continues with 3-1 win vs. Blackhawks

February, 26, 2012

ANAHEIM—The Ducks were coming off an immensely successful eight-game road trip, one in which they posted a 5-1-2 record. Yet, when the puck dropped Sunday afternoon against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks, they were still eight points back of the final playoff spot, the same margin as when the departed 18 days earlier.

A brick wall on the momentum highway?

Not a chance.

After a slow start, the Ducks proceeded to dominate the Blackhawks over the final 41 minutes, scoring a 3-1 victory in front of 17,601, the largest crowd to watch a regular-season game at Honda Center.

The victory moved the Ducks back within six points of the eighth-place Dallas Stars, who scored in the final minute earlier Sunday to tie the score against the Vancouver Canucks and then won in overtime.

“We didn’t get much help, but you know what?” said Teemu Selanne, who scored the third goal for the Ducks to move into 20th all time in NHL scoring. “Don’t worry about that. Just worry about the things we can control. Everything is in our own hands.”

It was just two months ago that the 41-year-old Selanne was rumored to be on the trading block. On the eve of the NHL trade deadline, it appears general manager Bob Murray has no choice but to keep his core group together and see what other magic they can pull out of their hats. Twenty points back of the final playoff spot on Jan. 5, the Ducks are officially in the Western Conference race.

“Within our group, it was a far goal for us but we set some short-term goals and we’ve reached a lot of them,” said team captain Ryan Getzlaf. “That’s what we have to continue doing. We haven’t accomplished anything yet. We’re just in the hunt, that’s the only thing we’ve done.”

Since the calendar turned to 2012, the Ducks have earned more points (38) than any other NHL team and have the best goal differential (+23).

“It’s a completely different team in this locker room right now,” said winger Bobby Ryan. “I don’t think there’s any defining moment that changed things around. We started to get some bounces and, when that happened, you start to get a little confidence and things tighten up defensively for you.”

A big reason for the turnaround has been the play of goalie Jonas Hiller. He was sharp again Sunday, stopping 18 shots in his 21st consecutive start to improve to 15-3-4 in his last 23 games.

“Jonas has come on and become the best goalie in the league over this stretch,” Ryan said. “If we hadn’t given away November and December, we’d be in a great position right now. We dug our own hole so we’re trying to climb out of it.”

Even if it’s one point at a time.

Shootout win inches Ducks closer to playoff spot

February, 6, 2012

ANAHEIM -- Too bad the Ducks can’t play the Flames every game.

Anaheim won its 14th consecutive meeting against Calgary at the Honda Center, getting a goal from Niklas Hagman in the eighth round of the shootout Monday night, and goalkeeper Jonas Hiller made it stand up with his sixth save of the tiebreaker.

More importantly, the 3-2 victory in front of a season-low crowd of 12,096 moved the Ducks within 10 points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 30 games remaining. A month ago Monday night, they were 20 points back.

“We dug ourselves such a hole through November and December,” said Ducks winger Bobby Ryan, who scored in regulation and the shootout. “We have to approach every game where anything but two points is unacceptable.”

Looking at the schedule this month, the Ducks can make up ground in a hurry. They play 12 more games in February, only once with more than a day’s rest in between. The players realize they need to continue treating every game like it's the playoffs, something they’ve been practicing for a while now.

“We knew since New Year’s that pretty much every game is a playoff game,” said Hiller, who improved to 2-4 in shootouts this season. “It was really important tonight, but at the same time, we have another game coming up in a couple days, and we have tons of games the whole month of February.”

Calgary is one of the teams the Ducks would likely have to leapfrog to get into the postseason. That’s why giving the Flames a point after Anaheim had taken a 2-0 lead early in the first period wasn’t forgotten.

“It was tough that they came back and got one point," said Hagman, who notched his third career game-deciding shootout goal. "That’s a big thing too, but for us, we’ve just got to try and get those wins.”

At this point, the Ducks can’t afford to look in the past. There will be plenty of time for that if they fail to make the playoffs for just the second time in the last seven seasons.

“If we fall short at the end of the year, then we would really reflect on it, but right now we’re coming to the rink ready to play every night,” Ryan said. “If [Hiller] continues to be good, our line starts to get on a roll, we’re getting contributions from the third and fourth lines … I think we can do a lot of damage.”

And undo a lot of damage in the process.

Ducks: 5 keys to the second half

January, 28, 2012
Ryan GetzlafDebora Robinson/Getty ImagesThe Ducks will need Ryan Getzlaf's scoring to pick up if they hope to sustain their recent momentum.

The Ducks were thought to be dead in the water a month ago, but now they've taken flight and enter the All-Star break as the second-hottest team in the NHL over their past 10 games. Here are some keys to getting the Ducks back in the playoff hunt.

1. Ducks in a row – Second-half surges at Honda Center have become as much part of the norm around town as Disney parades. For reasons unknown, the Ducks come out of the All Star/Olympic break like their skates are on fire, owning a combined 85-44-15 record in the second halves since their Stanley Cup season of 2006-07. That’s a lofty .642 winning percentage based on points earned and points available. Anaheim needed to start its annual run a little sooner this season, thanks to a late-October slump that extended into November, December and January. After a loss to San Jose on Jan 4, the Ducks were staring at a 10-22-6 mark. Soon after, Ducks general manager Bob Murray let it be known that anyone not named Teemu Selanne or Saku Koivu was available for trade. Suddenly, the Ducks began playing the type of hockey everyone envisioned coming into the season and won eight of nine games. Heading into play on Jan. 6, they were 20 points back of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Coming out of the All-Star break, they’ll be 12 behind. It’s probably no coincidence that Jan. 6 marked the beginning of a 32-game stretch in which 23 of Anaheim’s opponents did not make the playoffs last season. Looks as if they might just be positioned for another second-half run.

2. Hope for Ryan? – Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf remains on pace to deliver his lowest goal-scoring campaign since his rookie season in 2005-06. Just as troubling, his minus-15 rating is 78 points lower than his career total. Getzlaf is the straw that stirs the drink for the Ducks, but too often plays like he'd rather be the umbrella. Even while the rest of the team is spreading its wings this month, the 26-year-old center has been quite bland. Outside of a four-assist effort against Edmonton, he has just two goals and three assists in the other nine games. History doesn’t suggest Getzlaf will catch fire after the All-Star break like the rest of the team has. For their sake, the Ducks might not be able to make up the early-season deficit unless he does get on a roll. And if they don’t, he might be one of the biggest names to change uniforms at next month’s trade deadline.

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Ducks: Jonas Hiller doesn't hide his anger

December, 4, 2011

ANAHEIM -- Even a mask probably wouldn’t have hid the frustration overflowing inside Jonas Hiller.

The Anaheim goalkeeper was at the mercy of another spotty effort by his defense Sunday night, and he held little back after the Ducks lost for the 18th time in the last 21 games, 5-3, against the visiting Minnesota Wild at Honda Center.

“You can see why we’re not winning,” said Hiller, the only Western Conference goalie to make an All-Star team last season. “Guys always seem to get inside, walk through two guys and suddenly get a 2-on-1 out of nothing. … Even though we have guys back [on defense], it seems like we’re just too cute. I don’t know if we think we’re the best team out there.”

Hiller was speaking in generalities but was also disturbed with the ease in which the Wild scored the winning goal with 5 minutes remaining. Cal Clutterbuck brought the puck down the right wall with Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman on his hip. He found enough room to get off a centering pass toward Nick Johnson, who was crashing the crease with Luca Sbisa in pursuit. Johnson used his momentum to redirect the puck off a skate and past Hiller for a 4-3 lead.

"I should have stayed inside of him, kept him behind me and not let him go to the net like that," said the 21-year-old Sbisa. "It wasn’t the best play on my side, but I have to learn from that and it won’t happen again."

Especially frustrating, the Wild don't exactly perform well in high-scoring games. They came in 26th in the league in scoring and produced five goals in just one other game this season.

But this was against the Ducks, who have allowed at least four goals in seven of the last eight, all losses. The organization took the drastic step of firing coach Randy Carlyle after a rare victory last week and bringing in Bruce Boudreau, who's quickly learning that the Ducks won’t be an easy fix.

“We have to play 60 minutes,” he said. “We played about 12 good minutes in the first period, then we stopped playing. The second period we just stood around and watched and felt a little bit sorry for ourselves.”

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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.

Ducks: Losses continue to mount

November, 20, 2011

ANAHEIM -- Call it a trend within a trend.

The Ducks lost for the 10th time in the last 11 games Sunday evening, giving up the first three goals to the visiting Detroit Red Wings before eventually falling, 4-2, at Honda Center.

In nine of the losses, the Ducks allowed the first goal, something that hasn't gone unnoticed by coach Randy Carlyle.

“We’ve had to play catch-up in all of these games,” he said. “We’re not establishing any forecheck, or any physicality early in the hockey game. It takes too long for us to do that. We’re receiving and we’re not on the aggressive side, for whatever reason. I wish I had the answer to it because we’d be correcting it.”

The Red Wings needed just one shot on goal to take a 1-0 lead. A few minutes later, the arena had a power failure that caused the game to be delayed 29 minutes. The Ducks managed to escape the first period without any further damage, but 14 seconds into the second the Red Wings scored again, this time after a pass from Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler was intercepted in the neutral zone, leading to a goal by Johan Franzen.

“I forced it,” Fowler said. “It was a terrible play, not something that I usually try and make. I have to be more patient than that.”

Seven minutes later, Detroit made it 3-0 on a goal by defenseman Brad Stuart.

“The way we’ve been behind in these last few games, you start trying to make up for everything all in one shift and maybe force some plays that you shouldn’t,” Fowler said “To me, it’s more the adjustments that teams are making. We just need to come up the ice as a five-man unit.”

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Kings/Ducks: Round Two moves to Anaheim

November, 17, 2011
Kings (9-6-3, 21 points) vs. Ducks (6-8-4, 16 points) at Honda Center, 7 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. Job security -- Nobody’s feeling better about their situation than Kings assistant coach Jamie Kompon, whose duties include managing the power-play units. After a less-than-average performance last season that frustrated many fans, the Kings are eighth in the league in power-play efficiency after notching a 5-on-3 goal Wednesday night in a 2-1 shootout victory against visiting Anaheim. More than anything, the Kings have been consistent. They’ve scored a power-play goal in five consecutive games and 12 of 18 this season. The last time they scored a man-advantage goal in six straight games was at the start of the 2009-10 season.

2. Shot mentality -- Before Wednesday, no player on the Kings had taken more than six shots on goal in a game this season, then Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards exploded for seven each against the Ducks. Probably a dozen times in the locker room after the game, players and coaches said the Kings did an efficient job of “getting pucks to the net.” They had a season-high 17 shots on goal in the first period and maintained a busy pace against Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller. It will be interesting to see if they can sustain that pressure again tonight.

3. Wire-to-wire wins -- When the Kings score first this season, there’s a pretty good chance they hang on to win. They scored the first goal against the Ducks before winning in the shootout to improve to 7-1-2 when tallying the game’s first goal. The Kings are also unbeaten when leading after the first period this season, while the Ducks have yet to win a game after trailing at the end of one. Getting on the board first will be a huge psychological edge for either team tonight.

4. Report card -- Slava Voynov and Andrei Loktionov slid into the lineup Wednesday night and the 21-year-old Russians received passing grades. They were called up from the AHL earlier in the week to replace defenseman Alec Martinez (upper-body injury) and Dustin Penner (hand). Their numbers didn’t jump off the stat sheet but they also avoided any costly mistakes in a tight, low-scoring game. Loktionov made a perfect set-up pass to Dustin Brown at the end of a 2-on-1 in the second period, but Brown couldn’t strike the puck cleanly and his shot went wide.

5. Sinking Ducks -- Anaheim will take any break it can get at this point. They’ve lost 11 of the last 13 games to spiral to the bottom of the Pacific Division. Their problem is pretty easy to pinpoint. The offense is last in the league in scoring (1.94 goals a game), second-to-last in goals scored in the third period (nine) and shots a game (25.5). Throw in an especially sloppy night with the puck Wednesday night (19 giveaways) and the Ducks were lucky to escape with a point.

Kings: Offense has right mentality in win vs. Ducks

November, 17, 2011

LOS ANGELES—It’s a simply philosophy, really.

Kings coach Terry Murray has a phrase he likes to use when describing his team’s offensive objective during games. He calls it “shot mentality.” Throw the puck at the net at every opportunity and see what positives comes from there.

The Kings worked that strategy well early on Wednesday night against the visiting Ducks, didn’t get the results they wanted but still finished with just enough "shot mentality" to win, 2-1, in a shootout at Staples Center.

Justin Williams scored the deciding goal in the shootout, and goalie Jonathan Quick stopped 23 shots in regulation and six of seven in the shootout to lift the Kings to their first two-game winning streak in nearly four weeks.

The Kings greeted Anaheim with a barrage of shots from the opening faceoff. They struggled to find openings in Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, but didn’t let the frustration boil over.

“That means you’re doing a lot of good things to get frustrated about,” Murray said. “That means you’re putting pucks to the net.”

The Kings recorded 17 of their 37 shots on net during the opening period, the most shots on goal for any period this season. They had 11 in the first 7 minutes.

The opening period was scoreless but the Kings took advantage of a 5-on-3 early in the second.

Mike Richards, who took all seven of his shots on goal through the first two periods, the most by any player on the Kings this season, scored his fifth goal of the season on the 5-on-3.

"Our power play has been good all year," Richards said. "We got to get the puck on net as much as possible and we did that. We got a fortunate bounce off the end boards and capitalized on it.”

The play was set in motion when Jack Johnson shot wide from the high slot and Richards collected the carom off the end boards, then shot it past Hiller from a tough angle at the 7:38 mark. The Kings have scored at least one power play goal in five consecutive games and 12 out 18 overall this season.

“The five-on-five play was good,” Murray said. “The mentality of getting pucks to the net and having traffic was very good. I liked our power play tonight, we moved it around, we got pucks to the net.”

The Ducks, who came into the game last in the league in scoring, had a goal waved off with 14:35 left in regulation Teemu Selanne took a shot from the right faceoff circle and hit Kings goalie Jonathan Quick in the chest. Ryan Getzlaf was charging the crease and he caught the airborne puck in his left glove and shoveled past the line as he crashed into Quick. After a brief review, the goal was disallowed.

The Ducks finally got even when Selanne scored a power-play goal with 3:25 remaining in regulation.

"We let them hang around," Williams said. "Couldn’t get that second goal past the goalie and, unfortunately, they scored to tie it up. It’s tough giving up a point to a division opponent but we got two.”

Quick came up just short of recording his league-leading fourth shutout of the season.

The Ducks have lost eight of nine and 11 of their last 13.

Ducks: Hiller gets hook vs. Coyotes

October, 23, 2011

ANAHEIM -- Heading into this fall, a major area of concern for the Ducks was how well goalkeeper Jonas Hiller would bounce back after missing most of the second half of last season while battling vertigo-like symptoms.

He put much of the curiosity to rest after winning three of his first four starts, but Sunday night against Phoenix brought back troubling memories of how quickly things can go wrong.

The Coyotes scored five goals on 19 shots in a tick under 28 minutes against Hiller, just the right number to defeat the Ducks, 5-4, at Honda Center.

Hiller was removed from the game after giving up three goals in a 3:09 span early in the second period, giving Phoenix a 5-2 lead. Backup Dan Ellis managed to shut down the Coyotes the rest of the game, stopping 16 shots in the process, but the damage had already been done. Hiller has now given up eight goals in his last two starts.

“When you look back on it, the flurry of goals in the second period sunk our hockey club,” said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. “We probably should have done something after the fourth goal, instead of waiting for the fifth."

The most troublesome goal allowed by Hiller came long before the second-period barrage. Less than a minute after the Ducks took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Ryan Getzlaf with 5:58 remaining in the opening period, Martin Hanzal skated into the offensive zone and let a wrist shot fly from the top of the left faceoff circle.

With no traffic between Hanzal and the goal, the puck still found a way under Hiller’s left arm pit and skidded across the goal line.

“The second goal is my fault,” Hiller said. “It was a bouncing puck, a rolling puck, but I still should have made the save.”

The Coyotes then scored three straight goals in the second period to chase Hiller from the game. To his defense, Hiller’s teammates didn’t help the situation by committing ill-timed turnovers in their defensive end.

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