Kings 8, Ducks 3.

It’s only the preseason, but Randy Carlyle could not simply brush this one off. For a moment after the Ducks’ 8-3 loss to the Kings, the coach was at a loss for words.

“We didn’t do anything to start to build on,” Carlyle said. “The
frustration; the lack of discipline, structure; we started to play
outside of our system — you’d almost think we never practiced defensive
zone coverage, when you watch the game the way we played in our own
zone.”

That’s not putting it kindly because, really, there was no way to. The insults coming from 12,520 tongues in Staples Center were almost as juicy as the rebounds coming off Curtis McElhinney’s chest pad (and there were plenty).

Each goal was a little less excusable than the one before – a 5-on-3 goal by Dustin Brown, a 5-on-4 goal by Wayne Simmonds, a Ryan Smyth backhander off a close-range rebound, a long-distance bomb by Jack Johnson. Those four gave the Kings a 4-0 lead by the end of the first period. Los Angeles held a 23-7 shots advantage after one (the tally was 18-3 at one point). After a slight Anaheim pushback in the second period, the Kings scored four straight goals to take an 8-1 lead midway through the third.

On a night that saw the Ducks’ energy line provide the most offense (the Josh Green to George Parros to Todd Marchant combination proved potent twice), Carlyle couldn’t let this one slide.

“I reacted,” he said. “Not real emotional, from a standpoint of yelling and screaming, it’s just a matter of fact the way we played is unacceptable. The lack of discipline on the first penalty. Next thing you know the momentum of everything swung in their favor. It’s 2-0 and we’re back on our heels.”

Carlyle said he can usually find identify a few positives during video review. Here are a few (mostly negative) snap judgments:

McElhinney stopped just 34 of 42 shots. Carlyle said he would have pulled the goalie if it were a regular-season game, but “the idea was to let him play and battle through it. … He was part of the responsibility of the loss
also. Would you say he had his best game? No. Did he make some big
stops? Yes.”

Former Western Hockey League rivals Luca Sbisa and Brayden Schenn dropped gloves in the third period and engaged in a spirited back-and-forth fight. Schenn seemed to pull away after pulling Sbisa’s sweater over his head. The Kings’ center said the fight was in response to this fight from 2008: “(Sbisa) asked me after the two goals we scored off of the faceoff. I said, ‘I’ll see you in the third period.’ He asked me again with like three minutes left. … It was a good fight, and that’s two pretty good fights we’ve had.” Added Sbisa: “Every time we play against each other we go against each other pretty hard.”

Bobby Ryan’s quest to become a center was highlighted by a good blind backhand pass to Teemu Selanne that mandated a good save by Jonathan Quick (27 shots/24 saves). The negatives were more plentiful: Ryan finished minus-3, did not register a shot on goal and went 1 for 5 in the faceoff circle. He also got into an abrupt shouting match with Kings defenseman Drew Doughty late in the third period that required officials and teammates to separate the two, and fetched a game-ending double-minor for both participants.

The more consequential emotional outburst belonged to Ryan Getzlaf. With 7:11 left in the third, he drew a 2-minute charging penalty from a protracted chirping battle with Kings center Michal Handzus. A mere 23 seconds later, Jack Johnson had his second goal of the game, the Kings’ eighth and their fourth on the power play (out of seven total chances). Ryan and Sbisa’s battles followed. By taking the kind of undisciplined penalty that tends to doom this team, Getzlaf may have spotted Saku Koivu an advantage in the line of succession to the team captaincy.

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