Inside the box score 9/29

Jonathan Bernier…it’s impossible to overstate what this guy just did. NHL debut…age 19…first game of the season…foreign environment…early 5-on-3 power play…late pressure, and he never wilted. Now, there’s a big difference between late September and late March, but Bernier stopped 26 of 27 shots and looked nearly flawless.

Patrick O’Sullivan was huge in the third period after he looked a little lost early. Who would have guessed that he would end up being such a valuable penalty killer? Given how awful the Kings were in that area last season, O’Sullivan’s play on the PK would be a huge bonus.

Another player making his debut, Brady Murray, looked very solid as well. Very good puck protection and energy.

Kopitar clearly is making an effort to be better in the defensive zone, but he has to do so without taking bad penalties.

That was the one negative area for the Kings today, bad penalties. They got away with it, even though the Ducks had an outstanding power play last season, but the Kings can’t afford to consistently take bad penalties.

The Ducks really got their legs in the third period, controlled the last 10 minutes and got a lot of traffic in front of the Kings’ net. Bernier held up perfectly, but we’ll see if the Ducks come out tomorrow with that great effort again.

As previously mentioned, guys such as Cammalleri, Kopitar and Visnovsky came to play. Those are the guys who are going to have to be good every night if the Kings hope to improve this season.

The Ducks outshot the Kings 27-21. The Kings won 31 of 59 faceoffs. The Kings went 3 for 8 on the power play and the Ducks went 1 for 8. Cammalleri, Kopitar and Preissing each had three shots on goal for the Kings. Getzlaf had four shots for the Ducks. The Kings were credited with 32 hits, to the Ducks’ 20.

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Final…Kings 4, Ducks 1

If you’re the Kings, you can’t ask for a much better first game than that. Interesting that there wasn’t a single 5-on-5 goal scored in the game. The Kings got three power-play goals, the Ducks got one and the Kings got a goal in a 4-on-6 situation.

The three stars, in order, were Cammalleri, Bernier and Kopitar.

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Kings 4, Ducks 1

An empty-net goal for Michal Handzus with 25 seconds left, after some great work in the corner by Patrick O’Sullivan on the penalty kill. O’Sullivan fought hard and worked the puck out of the corner to Handzus, who tapped it in. It was a 6-on-4 power play for the Ducks.

The goal came after a brilliant point-blank save by Bernier on Corey Perry, in which Bernier slid across and made a pad save.

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Kings 3, Ducks 1

The Ducks score on a rebound in front of the net. Blake covered the front of the net on defense and Bobby Ryan snuck in behind him to score his first NHL goal with 6:51left in the third period. It was a power-play goal, the Ducks’ first power-play goal in seven chances.

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Scoring change

Michael Cammalleri is now being credited with the Kings’ third goal, with assists to Preissing and Kopitar. Cammalleri waved at Preissing’s shot and they’re saying that he made slight contact with the puck in front of the net.

Ducks on the power play with 7:44 remaining. Frolov off for tripping.

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Kings 3, Ducks 0

The Kings score their third power-play goal of the game. The Ducks got a little confused during a change and Preissing just kind of sent a knuckleball toward the net that fluttered over the glove of Bryzgalov. The goalie seemed to see the shot just fine. Kopitar gets the assist, 1:10 into the third period.

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In fairness to Frolov…

Yes, he does have an assist, but more to the point, I don’t like the line he’s on. It struck my eye weird during training camp when I saw him playing with Armstrong and Calder, and I’m still not sure it’s going to work. I know Crawford is looking for scoring balance, but if I’m coaching that team I think I try Frolov with Handzus and Nagy.

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End of second period

Kings 2, Ducks 0

That period ended at a good time for the Kings, because the Kings’ legs started to look a little heavy and the Ducks spent quite a bit of time in the Kings’ zone over the last five or six minutes.

Bernier…again, what can you say? He has made 17 saves through two periods.

Jack Johnson had a much better period, particularly with the defensive aspects of his game. He threw his body around against George Parros a couple times and got in the middle of the scrum that led to the 4-on-4.

Kyle Calder did some good dirty work in front of the net early in the period.

Raitis Ivanans, as previously mentioned, doesn’t look ready to play.

Rumor is, Alexander Frolov is playing tonight.

Visnovsky is the hardest skater on the ice and appears to be in tremendous physical condition to start the season.

The Ducks are outshooting the Kings 17-14 and the Kings have won 21 of 36 faceoffs. Kopitar and Preissing each have three shots on goal for the Kings.

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