An uninspiring game, until this happened:
Jonas Hiller earned his seventh career shutout and preserved a 1-0 game with that save on Anze Kopitar with 3:20 left in the third period. Less than a minute later, Jason Blake stepped onto the ice and started a 2-on-1 rush the other way with Teemu Selanne; Blake scored his fifth goal of the season to provide the final score.
Rookie defenseman Cam Fowler extended his scoring streak to four games with his second career NHL goal during a second-period power play. It was the first career game-winning goal and first career power-play goal for Fowler, who turns 19 on Sunday.
Hiller’s first shutout of the season came against a struggling offensive club; the Kings had scored only five goals in their previous three games. Still, it was a strong statement for a team that couldn’t play defense for the first week of the season.
“We’ve asked our team to create an identity,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “We’ve created the identity of a strong forechecking team, and that’s what speed does – it puts pressure on people.”
Carlyle will certainly hold up the game as an example of good defense compensating for a sometimes uninspiring 19-shot performance on offense; the Ducks missed the net nearly as many times (13) as they hit it. Speed allowed them to win the matchup of second lines as Blake, Saku Koivu, and Teemu Selanne were reunited after Selanne missed three games with a groin injury.
The Ducks also blocked 16 shots to the Kings’ four. Toni Lydman and Andy Sutton both blocked shots in the game’s final seconds, with the Kings enjoying a 6-on-4 power play.
A few more notes that didn’t make tomorrow’s game story:
It isn’t worth much, but the Ducks matched the Phoenix Coyotes for second place in the Pacific Division with 27 points, leapfrogging the Kings in the standings. The entire division is separated by three points behind first-place Dallas, and Anaheim has played at least three more games than every other team.
Tonight marked the
first time the Ducks have shut out the Kings since Nov. 16, 2008, and the sixth time
in 97 head-to-head meetings.
Fowler and Selanne both have four-game point streaks going. Blake has goals in two straight games.