It’s a game where you wonder if nothing is sacred in hockey, like the Kings falling short in the crunch, the Ducks dominating opponents on their home ice, and Scott Niedermayer providing steady, disciplined leadership.
At least Wayne Gretzky is still in the Hall of Fame, Maple Leafs fans still act like they run the NHL, and Claude Lemieux is still racking up penalty minutes like there’s no tomorrow.
As for Niedermayer, he was racking up penalty minutes too – six of them in the game’s final 11 minutes Wednesday. The Kings suddenly look like the smarter bet in the Western Conference playoff race
. And the Ducks are staring down a do-or-die situation if they don’t climb back into the Top 8 on their upcoming six-game, 11-day road trip after losing 4-3 at Honda Center.
“We are not comfortable with where we’re at,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “There has a lot been said and talked about on how we’ve played. We haven’t played to a high enough level. We’re in a situation where if we don’t get points, it’s a grim outlook. I think that the difference in the game from our standpoint tonight was their power play and penalty kill won them the hockey game.”
The teams were knotted up, 2-2, going into the third period before Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar scored power-play goals with Niedermayer in the box. A Chris Kunitz goal made it 4-3 with 3:40 left on the clock, but the Ducks couldn’t get one past Jonathan Quick with Jonas Hiller yanked over the final 35 seconds.
Game summary here; event summary here; more quotes to follow.
We’re disappointed. I think for the most part we worked hard and did a lot of things we wanted to do. Obviously, we had some mistakes happen and made some dumb decisions. On my part, to end up in the box like that, you’re not going to win by doing that. You have to give a lot of our guys credit for the way they played. They played hard. The Kings played a good game as well. We just had the breakdowns and the plays that gave the game away.
On the team moving forward
I think what we have to do is just realize that we have an opportunity and a challenge in front of us. We have to try and meet it. You can forget what the plan was back in September right now. We just have to deal with what is in front of us.
On the upcoming six-game road trip
It will be tough. We’re playing some good teams on the road, but maybe that is what the doctor ordered, get out together and us against everybody else. We’ll see how it goes.
On the upcoming six-game road trip
I think that this team is capable of winning and getting points. We seemed to have played better on the road, which is tougher. It’s a bigger challenge to go out on the road and have success and we seemed to have played some of our best games in those scenarios. It’s going to take a huge effort on our behalf to string some wins together.
On Scott Niedermayer
He’s trying to carry the team. It’s very plain to see that he’s trying to do things that are going to make a difference for our hockey club. Sometimes it works. He’s human. He is going to make mistakes, but you have to appreciate the will and the effort that he puts in.
LOS ANGELES KINGS
On road win
It is a road win. The team has been playing great on the road. We’ve played great at home, we just ran into a couple of hot goalies that stole a couple of games. We are battling here – we’re battling for that spot.
On young players handling pressure
I think we handled pretty well. We came out with the win. We were up by a goal with a couple of minutes left and I don’t think they got into our zone. We played great team defense and played great all game. It was a big win.
On third period
Before, I don’t know if we were really comfortable going into the third period with a one-goal lead. But we kept our composure, we got scored on, but we didn’t back off and we kept on going. We drew some penalties and we were able to capitalize on the power play.
I think they are sitting in ninth place right now and just a couple of points ahead of us, but I think we have three games in hand. That was definitely a big win for us, but it’s a new game tomorrow, so we’ve got to look forward to that one.
On Jonathan Quick
The goalie was big. He played extremely well. He made some very big stops in a lot of different situations – penalty killing, five-on-five – he made an unbelievable stop in the second period on Bobby Ryan on a goal-mouth pass. When you’ve got a line like Getzlaf’s coming at you – Getzlaf is a dangerous player. He’s creating something every time he crosses the blue line. He’s one of those dominant guys in the league. So the goaltender has to be good anytime you come and play a team like this. He responded very well.
On team’s poise throughout game
It was poised at the start and I thought very poised in the last four minutes of the game. That was important for us to show that kind of start. The last three games have not gone the way we’d like in the beginning and there is desperation on both sides. We know that we have three games in hand and this puts us two points behind them with the win. We wanted to have a good start, making sure we were doing the right thing managing the puck. It was a heck of game, it was hard, it was heavy, there were big hits, and there was a lot of physical involvement. It was a fun game to be a part of.