The fact that Kings rookies Andy Andreoff and Tanner Pearson each contributed two goals to 6-1 rout of the Ducks’ rookies at the Honda Center on Saturday doesn’t mean the Kings’ left-side scoring woes have been resolved.
But the duo’s performances offered reason to believe a solution might not be too far off and promised to raise the level of competition for jobs when the main training camp begins next week.
Pearson was among the hopefuls who auditioned to be a solution on the left wing last season, playing one playoff game after scoring 19 goals in 64 games with Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League. He’d like to get another chance this season.
“It’s still rookie camp and the main camp starts next week, so hopefully I can continue this scoring into next week,” said Pearson, who credited his success Saturday to being able to play with his longtime minor-league linemates, Linden Vey and Tyler Toffoli. “Hopefully it got the message along.”
Andreoff, who scored 13 goals in 69 games with Manchester last season, also is ready to take his shot at the NHL. He has the added bonus of versatility up front, as he’s able to play center or left wing. He played both positions last season.
“Hopefully they give me a shot on the left wing, or center,” Andreoff said. “We’ll see what happens. It just depends on how camp goes.”
Minor-league coach Mark Morris, who coached the Kings’ rookies on Saturday, said Andreoff is capable of playing either role. “I thought Andy had a very good game. I thought he was responsible in the middle and strong on the puck,” Morris said Saturday. “And he showed he can score, too.”
The Kings gave up the game’s first goal but scored the next six. J.F. Berube, who started in goal for the Kings, stopped 26 of 27 shots over two periods. His Ducks counterpart, Frederik Andersen, stopped 25 of 27 shots through two periods.
The attendance of 7,512 -- an actual turnstile count, not the tickets-distributed figure that teams usually announce -- well exceeded what Ducks officials had anticipated and led them to open the middle and upper levels to fans. Free hockey, a glimpse of the Kings’ and Ducks’ futures, and good air-conditioning proved to be a strong draw, and Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said the size of the crowd created a game-like atmosphere that players can learn from.
“I thought it was a great experience for them,” he said. “It’s the first game for a lot of them, putting a Ducks jersey on.
“And sometimes you practice and think you’re doing well and you realize that the bar has got to be raised higher. And I mean that you’re playing hard and think, well, great, and you play a team that comes in and gives you a little bit of a beating and you learn from it and get better from it, and they’ll be better the next game.”
The teams’ rookie squads will meet again Monday at the Toyota Center in El Segundo. There will be a $5 admission charge, for the benefit of the L.A. Junior Kings program.
The Ducks’ rookies scored first Saturday, when Rickard Rakell -- the team’s first pick and 30th overall in the 2011 entry draft -- swatted home the rebound of a shot by Steven Whitney at 9:44 of the first period.
The Kings’ rookies responded at 13:41, when Andreoff beat Andersen from an odd angle to tie the score.
The Kings’ rookies took a 2-1 lead at the four-minute mark of the second period. Ducks right wing Stefan Noesen, who came to Anaheim in the Bobby Ryan trade, was in the penalty box when Pearson redirected a long shot by defenseman Alex Roach past Andersen.
Both teams sent out new goaltenders for the third period. The Kings gave some work to German-born Mathias Niederberger, who signed with their Manchester farm team as a free agent a few months ago, and the Ducks deployed Igor Bobkov, who spent most of last season with Norfolk (Va.) of the AHL.
Bobkov barely had time to get warmed up before he yielded a goal. Defenseman Nicolas Deslauriers scored on a long shot that trickled past Bobkov 30 seconds into the third period for a 3-1 Kings lead.
Pearson made it 4-1 at 3:34, deftly getting behind the Ducks’ defense for a close-range shot that beat Bobkov. Andreoff, on a one-timer, made it 5-1, and Colin Miller took advantage of a fortunate bounce off the stanchion to score the final goal at 17:17.
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