Anaheim center Ryan Kesler played in his first battle of Southern California on Wednesday night and left his mark scoring twice, including the shootout-winner, and assisting on another helping the Ducks to a 6-5 come from behind victory over the L.A. Kings at the Honda Center.
The Ducks trailed 3-1 and 5-3, but battled back to snap a three game losing skid. The loss meanwhile drops the Kings to 1-3-3 on the road this season.
“It was a good game from us. Definitely a wild one,” said Kesler. “We could have given up, but the team stayed positive.”
Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty gave L.A. a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. After Ducks’ defenseman Cam Fowler got Anaheim on the board in the second, Trevor Lewis netted his second of the season forcing Bruce Boudreau to make a goaltending change – Frederik Andersen’s night was done after he allowed three goals on nine shots.
“It was very little, quite honest,” said Kings’ coach Darryl Sutter of the intensity Wednesday night. “It was just kind of a pond hockey game. It looked like one of our preseason games.”
Jakob Silfverberg and Kesler’s first of the night tied the game 3-3 just over two minutes into the third.
However, Marian Gaborik and Justin Williams restored L.A.’s two-goal lead midway through the final period.
Anaheim would not give up, captain Ryan Getzlaf and Kesler each picked up their fifth goals of the season to force overtime.
“I don’t think we let it ‘get away.’ We never really had the lead,” Sutter continued. “I know you define it by goals having a lead, but we really never had the lead. If it wasn’t for Jonathan (Quick), it wasn’t even close. They’re a much better team that we are.”
Kesler scored in the second round of the shootout for the winner. Jason LaBarbera made 13 saves in relief to improve to 2-0-1 on the season.
“I’m proud of our guys,” said Getzlaf. “We had our ups and downs, but I felt like we played a great game tonight.
Quick made 37 saves in the loss.
“I don’t think we had much energy, much focus, much execution,” said Sutter. “We used a short bench. Too bad actually we lost the shootout, because then Jonathan feels tough, right? He stood on his head to get us a point.”
The Kings don’t have to wait long for another shot at the Ducks – the rematch goes Saturday night at the Staples Center.