It’s all over for the Ducks.
Their three remaining games were rendered meaningless about a minute before Anze Kopitar’s third-round shootout goal closed the books on this one. The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4-3, also in a shootout, knocking the Ducks, St. Louis Blues and Calgary Flames out of playoff contention with one devastating blow.
So the mood in the Ducks’ locker room would have been pretty somber even if they hadn’t squandered a pair of three-goal leads to the Kings.
Early in the second period, they took a 3-0 lead and knocked Jonathan Quick out on goals by Jason Blake, Teemu Selanne and Bobby Ryan. Selanne added a second goal against Erik Ersberg, the 605th of his storied career, to give the Ducks a 4-1 lead in the second period.
The Kings began their comeback march on a fluke goal credited to Alexander Frolov, which actually bounced into the net off the body of defenseman Aaron Ward. Justin Williams scored midway through the third period to cut the lead to 4-3, and Michal Handzus’ 6-on-5 goal with 1:09 left sent the game into overtime.
Outshot 38-14 at that point, the Ducks peppered Ersberg with seven shots in the extra frame, but by then the Kings’ backup had found his rhythm. Corey Perry scored in the first round of the shootout, barreling into the net after pushing the puck across the line. But Selanne hit a crossbar and Saku Koivu seemed to make one too many moves on his third-round shot, allowing Ersberg to snuff out the forehand.
Jack Johnson and Kopitar beat Curtis McElhinney on the other end, giving the Ducks a disappointing game – and an even more disappointing season – to reflect on afterwards.
“We stopped playing that forechecking game that got
4-1,” Perry said. “Those things you have to bring every night and stop doing. Maybe we
back a little bit too much tonight and it hurt us.”
More game details and reaction in tomorrow’s editions … but I’ll leave with a postgame anecdote that didn’t make the print story:
Selanne had just stepped into the hallway behind the visitors’ locker room, looking for former teammate Sean O’Donnell, which prompted one reporter to ask Kings head coach Terry Murray about Selanne’s goal-scoring prowess.
“He is a great one, no question about that. I saw him score that 72 goals that one year in Winnipeg,” Murray said.
“Seventy-six!” shouted Selanne, looking over his shoulder, the only Duck who seemed ready to crack a joke.