Ducks use top line to get best of Kings

Times Staff Writer

Call it an adaptable rivalry, a movable feast of hockey.

On Tuesday, it was fists and fury -- among other things -- for the Kings and Ducks in the first game of their home-and-home series this week, at Anaheim, which the Ducks won in a shootout.

On Thursday, skill took center stage at Staples Center. That, and a huge third-period surge by the Ducks, who survived a lackluster first period and scored four times in the final 20 minutes on their way to a 6-3 victory against the Kings.

It was the Ducks’ No. 1 line -- Chris Kunitz-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry -- matching the feats, and then one-upping the Kings’ top line of Michael Cammalleri-Anze Kopitar-Dustin Brown before a sellout crowd of 18,118.


If that wasn’t enough, skill was complemented by the checkers with insurance goals from Brad May, playing in his 900th career game, and Sammy Pahlsson, and punctuated with an empty-netter from Rob Niedermayer with 41 seconds remaining.

Perry had two goals and one assist, Kunitz added three assists and Getzlaf had an assist and his goal put the Ducks ahead for the first time in the game, 3-2, at 2:08 of the third period.

“We needed to step up,” Perry said. “The first period was awful. We knew that we had to step up our game and we talked about that on the bench.”

For the Kings (8-9-1), Kopitar had a power-play goal and an assist and Brown added a goal, his fourth in the last five games, and the other came from Patrick O’Sullivan, which only temporarily stopped the third-period fold.

The victory had immediate as well as larger implications for the Ducks.

It gave them the edge in the season series against the Kings at the midpoint of this season’s rivalry. They’ve won the last three games against the Kings after losing the season opener in London.

Big picture? It was the first time they’ve won three consecutive games this season and the victory put them over .500 for the first time (9-8-3).


“We were fortunate to get out of the first period only down one,” Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said. “But it really is a show of character for our group when you can go in and regroup after a period. I thought we played more of the game we needed to play.

“We got a contribution from a bunch of different people.”

Perhaps the Kings were thrown off by not trailing heading into the third period. They rallied from a four-goal deficit on Saturday against the Dallas Stars and a two-goal shortfall on Tuesday.

You want turning points?

* The Kings’ inability to score on a five-on-three advantage in the second period, though Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped Cammalleri with a glove save at 8:41. Still, the Kings went ahead shortly thereafter when Brown scored his eighth of the season, beating Giguere on the short side with a shot from a bad angle from the left circle, at 12:05, to make it 2-1.

* A seeming unawareness of Perry’s penalty winding down late in the second period. Perry, who had gone off for boarding, came out of the penalty box and was sprung on a breakaway off a pass from Kunitz. Perry beat goalie J.S. Aubin between the pads with a shot from between the circles for his 11th goal.

* The Ducks’ strong shift to start the third period, resulting in Getzlaf’s goal. “I don’t know if you can say it’s down to that one shift,” O’Sullivan said. “But they came out hard in the third.”