The Kings and Ducks on Wednesday renewed the rivalry they built to new heights in last season’s seven-game playoff series by taking their first matchup this season to a riveting shootout.
The Ducks, on shootout goals by Ryan Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg and two saves by backup goalie Jason LaBarbera, won the battle, 6-5, at Honda Center.
Anze Kopitar was denied on the final shot.
“Figured I’d just kind of go old school and try and poke-check him,” LaBarbera said. “I probably threw him off, he shot a little bit quicker than he wanted to.”
The game’s frantic nature was summed up by the fact the teams combined for five third-period goals.
Putting 49 shots on goal, the Ducks forced their fourth consecutive overtime when center Ryan Getzlaf deflected in a Devante Smith-Pelly blast with 1 minute 39 seconds remaining in regulation.
It’s the first time in franchise history that Anaheim has won after trailing by a multi-goal deficit in the final six minutes.
“It was entertaining, I’ll give you that,” Getzlaf said.
The Kings led, 5-3, in the third period on goals by Marian Gaborik and Justin Williams, but Kesler kept the Ducks within reach by producing a wraparound goal that beat goalie Jonathan Quick with 5:40 remaining.
The Ducks’ major offseason answer to the Kings’ playoff loss, Kesler finished with two goals, an assist and the decisive shootout goal.
Asked whether Kesler is the difference, Getzlaf said, “Guess so, when he can score like that.”
Said Kesler: “The positive is that it’s the sign of a good character win and a good character team.”
The Ducks broke through on defenseman Cam Fowler’s goal and trailed, 3-2, when forward Silfverberg scored for the first time this season.
Anaheim sent 16 shots at Quick in the second period, and when Quick stopped Rickard Rakell’s shot, the goalie held his glove aloft.
The action was theatrical, a dramatic continuation of last season’s Western Conference semifinal series that stretched to seven games, the Kings proceeding to their second Stanley Cup in three seasons.
The well-known disdain that Kings Coach Darryl Sutter has for defensive looseness was on display when he benched two of his team’s top three scorers, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, along with forward Kyle Clifford, for the entire third period.
“It’s a big, physical team we are playing, so you have to be prepared to play like that,” Sutter said. “Just kind of a pond-hockey game.
“If it wasn’t for Jonathan, it wasn’t even close. … He stood on his head to get us the point.”
Anaheim’s defensive lapses were put on starting goalie Frederik Andersen, who gave up three goals on nine shots.
A long-distance shot by forward Trevor Lewis beat Andersen to his glove side midway into the second period, giving the visitors a 3-1 lead and prompting Coach Bruce Boudreau to replace Andersen with LaBarbera, a former King.
Andersen also gave up a blue-line, glove-side goal to Drew Doughty late in the first period.
On the air: TV: Fox Sports West. Radio: 790.
Etc: Forward Travis Moen, acquired Tuesday from Montreal in exchange for defenseman Sergei Gonchar, is not expected to play tonight. He is dealing with immigration issues, according to the Dallas Morning News, and will probably join the Stars in Dallas on Friday. Moen was with the Ducks when they won the Stanley Cup in 2007.
— Lisa Dillman