Winger Trevor Lewis and defenseman Jake Muzzin scored goals,
goaltender Jonathan Quick made 21 saves, and the Los Angeles Kings
defeated the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 Wednesday to even the Western
Conference semifinal series at three games apiece.
Game 7 will be played Friday at Anaheim's Honda Center.
The Kings will be navigating familiar territory, a road Game 7, the
same challenge they faced in their first-round series against San
Jose. Los Angeles rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to beat the
Sharks and advance to the matchup against the Ducks.
"This Game 7 is probably harder than the last one," Kings coach
Darryl Sutter said. "We'll be a big underdog going against the No. 1
seed in the Western Conference."
The Kings have been a team of streaks throughout the playoffs,
losing three straight, winning six in a row, then dropping three
before Wednesday's victory. They will need to earn a third road win
in the series if they are to advance to face the Chicago Blackhawks
in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Sunday.
"Game 7s are always exciting, but they are the hardest game," Kings
center Anze Kopitar said. "I think we can still play better hockey.
We've done it before."
The Ducks face a Game 7 at Honda Center for a second consecutive
season. As the West's second seed last year, the Ducks lost the
deciding game in the first round against the seventh-seeded Detroit
Anaheim, the Pacific Division's regular-season champion, faces the
prospect of being eliminated again at home by a lower-seeded team.
The Kings are battle-tested, and they are just two years removed
from winning the Stanley Cup.
"They've been in this situation before," Ducks right winger Kyle
Palmieri said of the Kings. "Their goalie made some big saves, and
we are going to have to give a full 60 minutes' effort on Friday."
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau expects a better effort from his squad in
the winner-take-all game.
"I think what it's going to take is someone getting a lucky bounce
and holding on to the lead," Boudreau said. "There can be no
passengers in the next game."
The Kings rode to the top Wednesday thanks to defenseman Jake
Muzzin's third goal of the playoffs at 8:18 of the first period.
Muzzin, breaking down the slot, took a backhand pass from Kopitar
and shoveled the puck past Anaheim goaltender John Gibson. Winger
Marian Gaborik drew the secondary assist. It was the first time
since Game 2 that Los Angeles opened the scoring.
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The Kings doubled the lead on Lewis' fourth goal of the playoffs at
14:04 of the middle period. Lewis took what appeared to be a
harmless wrist shot on a one-on-two rush from 40 feet out, but the
puck trickled thru Gibson's pads and into the net.
The Ducks narrowed the margin to one on Palmieri's second goal at
15:42 of the second period. Kings winger Tanner Pearson turned over
the puck at his own blue line, and Ducks center Nick Bonino fed
Palmieri, who sped around the Los Angeles cage and beat Quick with a
Up 2-1 entering the third period, the Kings had an opportunity to
regain a two-goal margin six minutes in, but center Jeff Carter's
wrist shot off a two-on-one break hit the post to the left of Gibson
and bounced to the corner.
The Ducks had an opportunity to even the game on a power play with
less than seven minutes to go, but Quick made a glove save on a
wrist shot by defenseman Cam Fowler.
Gibson stopped 21 shots while suffering his first loss of the
NOTES: With his 2-0 shutout in Game 4, Anaheim's John Gibson became
the second goaltender in NHL history to record a shutout in his
first regular-season and playoff game. Boston's Tiny Thompson
achieved the feat in November 1928 and March 1929. ... Anaheim did
not dress D Luca Sbisa, RW Tim Jackman, D Stephane Robidas, D Mark
Fistric, LW Matt Beleskey, RW Rickard Rakell, G Frederik Andersen
and G Igor Bobkov. ... The Ducks entered the game on a four-game
winning streak at Staples Center. They won the two regular-season
contests in Los Angeles as well as Games 3 and 4 of the Pacific
Division finals. Anaheim also won a Kings "home" game, the Stadium
Series clash at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 26. ... Los Angeles scratched
regulars C Colin Fraser, D Willie Mitchell, D Robyn Regehr and C
Jordan Nolan along with 12 "Black Aces," players recalled from
Manchester after the Kings' AHL affiliate was eliminated from the
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