There were distinct flickers of playoff-like hate, here and there Saturday night at Staples Center.
Then there was the game-within-a-game battle between Ducks star forward Corey Perry and Kings defenseman
This may have been short of a true preview of what could possibly be a first-ever playoff matchup between the Ducks and the Kings. It was more like Playoff Lite, a 2-1 win by the Ducks.
There was a controversial moment with 6:23 remaining when an apparent goal by Kings center
Fans threw debris on the ice in protest.
Gaborik said he had not seen the replay of the controversial play.
"They called it that I touched the goalie before the puck went in, but I don’t know," he said.
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter kept his summation of the waved-off goal short, saying: "Gaborik trying to get out of the way of the goalie."
Said Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau: "They ran right into our goalie. I've seen so many, a lot less things called for penalties. I'm surprised they didn't get a penalty. We knew automatically, that there was no way that was going to count."
The Kings were without their No. 1 goalie
Anaheim was minus
This time, the heroes were unlikely ones.
Anaheim's goal-scorers were not the likes of captain
Getzlaf talked about the Ducks' immediate response after losing to the lowly Calgary Flames, 7-2, on Wednesday night.
"We had a pretty spirited conversation in the locker room during that game," he said. "At the end of it we tried to just scrap that game. During the game, we talked amongst ourselves about what we were doing wrong.
"Obviously, our guys responded tremendously and that's all we can really ask. You're going to have those games from time to time. The response is what we're looking for."
The Ducks' immediate response to adversity was impressive.
"What I've said the whole time is that when you have those downfall games where you don't play well, you can easily pack it up and take the next couple off and try to find your way back," Getzlaf said. "Our guys didn't do that. They did a great job responding and played two good hockey teams."
The lone Kings goal came, on the power play, in the second period at 11:21 from youngster Tyler Toffoli, who converted a rebound of
They had gone on the power play when Ducks defenseman
At least the Kings scored, unlike their last meeting against the Ducks, in the outdoor game at
They had gone 148 minutes and 8 seconds without scoring against the Ducks, dating back to the first period of their game against Anaheim on Jan. 23.
Anaheim responded quickly. The Ducks scored only 51 seconds after Toffoli tied it.
The game-winner came from Maroon, whose centering pass banked off the skate of sliding Kings defenseman
"It was a good hockey game," Getzlaf said. "It was back and forth and a little chippy here and there. Those are the games we've got to get used to down the stretch."
Brown played a mere 10:12 on Thursday against Toronto, and Sutter said the line looked "tired."
Brown, who wasn't used on the penalty kill against the Maple Leafs, was critical of himself but said he might have used another word instead of tired.
"I haven't had a very good year. I'm the first one to say that," he told reporters Saturday morning.
"As a player you're not happy, but he's a coach and I'm a player and that's how it works. It was just one of those things where, as a player, I feel I can contribute more. He thought our line was not as good. Ultimately it's his call. That's how it works."