Kings defenseman Matt Greene, left, and Ducks forward Patrick Maroon shove one another in front of the Kings' net during the first period of Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals at Honda Center. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Following one close win with another, the Kings outlasted the Ducks, 3-1, on Monday night to take an early command of the Western Conference semifinals.
The victory gave the Kings a 2-0 lead – with both wins at Honda Center – heading back to Staples Center on Thursday.
The game was every bit as close and tense as Saturday’s series opener, which the Kings won 3-2 in overtime. The Kings have won six consecutive postseason games since starting the playoffs 0-3.
This time, they got first-period goals form Marian Gaborik and Alec Martinez. The Ducks kept it close with a goal from Patrick Maroon. The Kings put the game away on an empty-net goal by Dwight King with 58 seconds to play.
Play settled down through the second and third periods. Neither team made good on their chances to score, especially on power plays.
Kings 2, Ducks 1 (end of second period)
After a wild start, Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals calmed down a bit with the Kings holding onto a one-goal lead over the Ducks at the end of two periods.
Both teams had scoring chances in the second 20 minutes – especially on the power play – but neither could capitalize.
The Ducks had a dozen shots to hold a 22-13 lead for the night.
The Kings might have been happy simply to get off the ice with no further injuries to their depleted defense.
With about seven minutes remaining in the period, Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin slashed Drew Doughty in the back of the leg. Doughty limped off the ice and headed straight for the locker room.
But the Kings defenseman stopped in the tunnel, where he remained for only a minute or so before returning to the bench.
The Kings will begin the third period with 1:50 left on a power play.
Kings 2, Ducks 1 (end of first period)
The Kings continue to look like a different team this postseason, having stormed to a 2-1 first-period lead over the Ducks in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Their offensive outburst included a goal by Marian Gaborik in the first 34 seconds and a slap shot from the point by Alec Martinez.
Sandwiched in between, the Ducks kept things close with a goal from Patrick Maroon during a 4-on-3 power play.
Offensive fireworks are nothing new at the Honda Center, where the Ducks finished the regular season averaging 3.21 goals per game, the most in the NHL. As Times columnist Helene Elliott noted, the Kings were No. 26 on that list, averaging 2.42 goals per game.
If the scoring continues, there figures to be plenty of second-guessing about Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau choosing to start Jonas Hiller in goal.
So much for a tight, defensive battle.
The Kings and Ducks, who played into overtime over the weekend, have opened Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals with a flurry of goals.
Alec Martinez’s shot from the point deflected past Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller at 12:07 of the first period to put the Kings back in the lead, 2-1.
Tyler Toffoli started the play in the corner, sending a pass to Martinez at the blue line. The subsequent shot appeared to skip off Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg, beating Hiller high to the glove side.
The Ducks had scored less than three minutes earlier to tie the score after a quick Kings goal started the game.
Kings 1, Ducks 1
The Ducks have been nothing if not resilient this season – and they showed some of that ability to bounce back early in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals.
After giving up a potentially deflating goal to the Kings in the first 34 seconds at Honda Center, they tied the score at 1-1 with some close work from Patrick Maroon at 9:40 of the first period.
A penalty on Drew Doughty had given the Ducks on a 4-on-3 power play. Working just a few feet from the crease, Maroon looked to be passing to Corey Perry but the puck deflected past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.
Ryan Getzlaf and Cam Fowler got assists on the play.
Kings 1, Ducks 0
It took all of 34 seconds for the Kings to get rolling against the Ducks in Monday’s Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals at Honda Center.
In that short span of time from the opening faceoff, Marian Gaborik took a pass from Anze Kopitar, raced past a defender and flipped the puck past Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller.
Gaborik knows something about timely goals – he tied Game 1 with seven seconds remaining in regulation and scored the winner in overtime. On Monday night’s goal, he beat Hiller glove side.
Kopitar now has points in every playoff game this season. Dustin Brown also got an assist on the play.
The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks play Game 2 of their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series tonight at the Arrowhead Pond, and you can follow it live right here.
In Game 1, Marian Gaborik scored with seven seconds remaining in regulation, and again 12:07 into overtime to lift the Kings to a 3-2 victory.
Gaborik deflected in a pass from Anze Kopitar toward Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller's right side, the puck striking the post before it went in, spawning a wild Kings celebration.
So what will happen tonight? Stay tuned here to find out. Game time is 7 p.m.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times