Los Angeles Hockey: Sheldon Brookbank

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.

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.

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Ducks: Third-period surge leads to 6-3 victory in Game 4

April, 20, 2011
Ducks AP Photo/Mark HumphreyCam Fowler, center, Lubomir Visnovsky and Ryan Getzlaf celebrate one of the Ducks' six goals in Game 4.
Western Conference quarterfinals

Game 4

Ducks 6, Nashville Predators 3 (Ducks even best-of-seven series, 2-2)

Eight keys to the game:

THE FACTS: The Ducks exploded for three unanswered goals in the third period Wednesday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, breaking open a game that was tied after the second intermission and earning back home-ice advantage.

THE STAT: After they were limited to 16 shots on goal in a 4-3 loss Sunday in Game 3, the Ducks came out firing and put up 38 shots on net in Game 4, chasing Nashville’s stellar goalie Pekka Rinne early in the third period. The six goals by the Ducks were their most since a title-clinching 6-2 victory against Ottawa in Game 5 of the 2007 Stanley Cup finals.

TURNING POINT: With the score tied, 3-3, at the start of the third period, the Ducks were attempting to kill the final 1:28 of a power play that carried over from the second period. Ducks rookie forward Brandon McMillan took possession of the puck in neutral ice, made a drop pass to Corey Perry in the offensive zone and then headed for the net, taking one of two Nashville defensemen with him. Perry skated around the other defender and flicked a backhand at the net, beating Rinne for a short-handed goal and a 4-3 lead.

HOT: The ageless Teemu Selanne scored again for the Ducks, giving him five goals in this series to match his postseason career high. The 40-year-old forward gave Anaheim a 3-2 lead with a power-play goal in the second period, his fourth power-play goal of the playoffs. With 15 goals in his last 15 games, his hot streak has obviously carried over from the regular season.

NOT: Rinne finished the regular season ranked second in the league in save percentage (.930) and third in goals-against average (2.12) but matched his career high with six goals against in Game 4. Rinne has allowed 14 goals in four playoff games against the Ducks for a paltry save percentage of .860 and a swollen goals-against average of 3.50.

GOOD MOVE: Ducks rookie defenseman Cam Fowler set the tone with a power-play goal just 4:41 into the game. In addition to the goal, he also had three takeaways in the opening nine minutes of the first period, helping the Ducks out-shoot the Predators, 12-2, in that span. Fowler later assisted on Selanne’s goal.

BAD MOVE: Ducks veteran forward Jarkko Ruutu got back into the lineup after sitting out the last two games as a healthy scratch and he might be sitting again after knocking Nashville left wing Martin Erat from the game with a hit that left Erat sprawled on the ice. It has been a tough series for Erat, who lost four teeth in Game 2 when he was accidentally struck with the butt end of Sheldon Brookbank's stick. Good thing the Ducks have a replacement for Ruutu in Bobby Ryan, the team’s second-leading goal scorer in the regular season who was suspended for Games 3 and 4 after stomping on the skate of Nashville defenseman Jonathon Blum late in Game 2.

NOTABLE: The team that has scored first has also scored second and won every game in the series.

UP NEXT: Game 5, Friday at Honda Center, 7 p.m. PT.

Kings: Rookies holding their own in postseason

April, 18, 2011
Alec MartinezJason O. Watson/US PresswireAlec Martinez helped the Kings' defense post a shutout of the Sharks in Game 2 last Saturday.

EL SEGUNDO — The locker room at the Toyota Sports Center was crowded with reporters and cameramen Monday morning, prompting staff members to cover the Kings' logo that centers the room with a large black rug and keep the unsanitary foot prints off their crown jewel.

As large groups of media huddled around the likes of Jarret Stoll, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick, rookie defenseman Alec Martinez slipped in relatively unnoticed, plopped down in the corner of the room and began untying his skates.

Martinez received plenty of attention in his first playoff appearance last week, but it wasn’t they type of debut he envisioned while growing up a Detroit Red Wings fan in Rochester, Mich. With about five minutes remaining in the first overtime against the San Jose Sharks, Martinez lost control of the puck after receiving a pass in cramped quarters, lost his footing and couldn’t get back on defense in time to prevent Joe Pavelski's winning goal.

It was a painful ending to an otherwise solid outing, but Martinez knew there was plenty of time for redemption. He gained that in Game 2, helping the defense combine on a 4-0 shutout that evened the series, 1-1, heading into Game 3 on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

“It was obviously a huge win for us,” Martinez said. “Coming back home with a split there. I thought we did a lot of good things both games. Unfortunately, it didn’t bounce our way the first game, but I think we did a real good job sticking to what we’re good at doing and played pretty well defensively.”

Martinez was recalled from Manchester just before Thanksgiving to fill in for fellow blue-liner Willie Mitchell, who was out because of a broken hand. Martinez scored a power-play goal in his first game with the Kings, a 4-1 loss in Montreal, then cemented a spot on the roster four games later with a goal and an assist in a 3-2 overtime victory against the visiting Red Wings.

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Ducks clinch fourth spot in West

April, 9, 2011
LOS ANGELES — The Kings entered the final weekend of the regular season in control of their destiny. With two wins against the Ducks, they could claim home-ice advantage for the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Ducks had other thoughts, pulling the ice from under Los Angeles by winning for the second consecutive night, 3-1.

Coupled with Nashville’s loss to St. Louis earlier Saturday and San Jose’s victory over Phoenix about 10 minutes prior, the Ducks clinched fourth place in the Western Conference standings, giving them home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, beginning Wednesday or Thursday at Honda Center.

The Kings, meanwhile, can finish no higher than seventh. That’s if the Detroit Red Wings can beat Chicago on Sunday morning. In that event, the Kings would open the playoffs in San Jose. If the Blackhawks win, the Kings would drop into eighth and open the playoffs at top-seeded Vancouver for the second consecutive postseason.

With the struggles the Kings are having offensively, scoring 12 goals in the last seven games, that could result in a quick series.

The Ducks meanwhile got a strong performance from its most unsteady area, in goal. Dan Ellis starting in place of the sidelined Jonas Hiller (vertigo) and Ray Emery (lower body), stopped 40 shots.

The final minutes were brawl-filled as Sheldon Brookbank bloodied the face of Kings rookie Kyle Clifford and 40-year-old Ducks forward Teemu Selanne even got into the act, throwing blows with Brad Richardson for one of the few times in his career.

More to come from the locker rooms.