The first Stanley Cup playoff matchup between Southern California rivals is heading to Game 7.
Facing elimination for the fifth time this postseason, the Kings snapped out of their most recent playoff funk with a 2-1 victory over the Ducks in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
Trevor Lewis and Jake Muzzin scored for the Kings, who managed to tie the best-of-seven series at 3-3 by dissolving the Ducks’ four-game winning streak at Staples Center.
Lewis scored the eventual winning goal in the second period, rocketing the puck between the pads of Ducks goalie John Gibson for his fourth tally of the season. Muzzin scored his goal in the first period off a pass from Anze Kopitar while stationed just left of the crease.
Kyle Palmieri scored for the Ducks seconds after Lewis’ goal, but Anaheim was unable to generate the kind of success they had on the power play during their three consecutive wins against the Kings coming into the game.
The missed opportunities the Ducks lamented about following their losses at the start of the series reappeared in Game 6. The Kings held the Ducks scoreless on their five power-play opportunities and limited their second chances in front of Jonathan Quick.
Quick and Gibson each had 21 saves.
With the win, the Kings are unbeaten in five elimination games this postseason. They overcame a 0-3 series deficit against San Jose with four straight wins before extending their season again Wednesday.
Game 7 is Friday at Honda Center.
Kings 2, Ducks 1 (end of second period)
Trevor Lewis is quickly making a name for himself as one of the Kings’ best snipers.
His fourth goal of the playoffs wasn’t overly impressive, but it did lift him to second on the Kings’ postseason goal-scoring list in addition to giving the team a 2-1 lead over the Ducks tonight heading into the third period of Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Lewis wristed a shot between the pads of Ducks rookie goalie John Gibson, who managed to slow down the puck from a rocket to a trickle before it slid into the back of the net.
It wasn’t Gibson’s best moment of the playoffs, but the Ducks found redemption a little more than a minute later when Kyle Palmieri scored on an impressive wraparound that Kings goalie Jonathan Quick had no chance of stopping.
The Ducks’ power play, which laid waste to Quick’s unbeatable reputation earlier in the series, has floundered so far. The Ducks are 0 for 3 with the man advantage and the team has generated better scoring chances at full strength.
The Kings outshot the Ducks, 8-7, in the period.
Kings 2, Ducks 1 (4:28 left in second period)
Kyle Palmieri scored a truly impressive goal during the second period to keep the Ducks in the game tonight at Staples Center.
Palmieri took advantage of a turnover by Kings rookie forward Tanner Pearson to score on a wraparound roofer that Kings goalie Jonathan Quick had no chance of stopping at 15:32 of the second period.
The Ducks are doing everything they can to prevent the Kings from breaking their Staples Center winning streak.
Kings 2, Ducks 0 (5:56 left in second period)
John Gibson’s rookie moment finally arrived tonight in the second period of Game 6.
Kings forward Trevor Lewis scored through the five-hole on Gibson with a rather pedestrian-looking shot, with the puck slithering underneath the Ducks goalie and into the net to give the Kings a two-goal lead with 5:56 to go in the period.
It was Lewis’ fourth goal of the playoffs. Justin Williams picked up the assist.
Kings 1, Ducks 0 (end of first period)
The brand of hockey that conjured one of the greatest playoff comebacks in NHL history made a brief reprise for the Kings in the first period of Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals tonight at Staples Center.
The Kings didn’t play totally mistake-free hockey in the opening frame, but they were able to generate scoring chances and limit the Ducks’ opportunities around goalie Jonathan Quick.
Jake Muzzin’s goal from outside the top of the crease off a nice, backhanded pass from Anze Kopitar at 8:16 of the first period gave the Kings their first lead against their Southern California nemesis since their Game 2 win.
The Kings got a power play late in the period when the Ducks’ Devante Smith-Pelly was sent off for boarding, but they failed to capitalize through the first 1 minute and 36 seconds with a man advantage.
The Ducks failed to score on their only power play of the period after Kings defenseman Matt Greene drew an interference penalty for a hit on Mathieu Perreault.
The Ducks’ best scoring chance came late in the period when Daniel Winnik broke through the Kings’ defense to snap a shot from the slot, only to see Quick make the save.
The Kings outshot the Ducks, 8-5, in the period.
The Kings got off to a fast start in Game 6 on Wednesday when defenseman Jake Muzzin chipped in a goal off a backhanded pass from Anze Kopitar. Muzzin’s third goal of the postseason came just outside the top of the crease at 8:16 of the first.
Before the goal, the Kings had successfully killed off a Ducks power play following an interference penalty on defenseman Matt Greene for his devastating hit on forward Mathieu Perreault.
The Ducks failed to score despite a couple of good chances on point shots by Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm.
Since losing the first two games of the series, the Ducks have won three straight, taking advantage of the strong play of rookie goalie John Gibson while capitalizing on the Kings’ miscues on defense. Gibson has stopped 67 of the 70 shots the Kings have flung at him and has helped limit them to five goals over the last three contests.
A second-period scoring binge by the Ducks in Game 5 gave them abig enough lead to hold off a late charge by the Kings to post their seventh win in 10 total meetings with their Southern California rivals this season. The Ducks have won their last four games at Staples Center.
Success on the power play has played an important role in the Ducks’ resurgence. After scoring one goal on eight power-play opportunities in the first two games of the best-of-seven series, the Ducks have scored four goals on their last eight chances with a man advantage. That has helped the team overcome some of the mystique surrounding Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, whose stellar play had carried them to six straight wins until their Game 3 loss.
“He’s human, we’ve seen that, but he can still steal games,” Ducks center Nick Bonino said of Quick. “We’ve just got to keep doing to him what we did [Monday] night.”
Still, the Ducks cannot underestimate a Kings squad that became only the fourth team in NHL history to come back from a 0-3 series deficit when they rattled off four consecutive wins against the San Jose Sharks in the first round. The Kings’ inconsistent play hasn’t made General Manager Dean Lombardi happy, but the team’s resilient nature will test the Ducks.
“I would still venture to guess that people are still thinking that they’re the favorites to win the series because of what they’ve done in the past,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said Tuesday.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun