What we learned from the Kings’ 2-1 loss to the Ducks
Their standings will certainly be different by the time the Kings and Ducks stage their final regular-season meeting on March 30.
For now, they’re skating into opposite zones. As opposite as the North and South poles.
The Ducks took a fairly straightforward 2-1 matchup in a tight game with no fights and only three minor penalties. They are far from where they want to be, but in better shape with points in seven of their last nine games.
The Kings have lost six straight and look every bit the offensively challenged personality they tried so hard to shed during the offseason.
Here’s what we learned:
The love for Andrew Cogliano is impressive. That was known beforehand, but it was hit home with a tribute to Cogliano in which he received a standing ovation for his run of 830 consecutive games played.
Ducks fans made signs that read “#831,” and Cogliano waved to the fans during the recognition.
The admiration has in part to do with a two-game suspension that was seen as overly harsh given Cogliano’s impeccable record for fair play. The fans showed their appreciation in full.
“It shows the commitment not only [that] he’s made to the organization and to being a solid pro and represent the hockey club very professionally, [but] it shows the appreciation they have for [him],” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said.
Rickard Rakell is flashing his All-Star credentials. The Ducks’ shutdown line headed by Ryan Kesler was the engine Friday, but Rakell was very noticeable with six shots, one short of his single-game career high, playing on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
Rakell possesses one of the better wrist shots in the NHL, and he knows how to crank it quickly in tight spaces. It should be fun to see him in the three-on-three format used for the All-Star game at the end of this month.
The Kings still believe they can pull out of this. At least publicly, they say the answers are within the room. Their season is full of streaks, and they emerged from an 0-6-1 slide in November with eight straight wins.
“We’ve been a good team,” Kings coach John Stevens said. “We were one of the better teams in the league the first half of the year. We’ve had a really streaky season, to be honest with you. But every game’s different. It’s not as if you can take each game and categorize it the same way. But it’s a process we have to learn from, and I think we have. When you have [Anze] Kopitar, [Jonathan] Quick, [Dustin] Brown and [Drew] Doughty on your team, you always have a chance to win.”
Follow Curtis Zupke on Twitter @curtiszupke
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