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Three-goal third period pushes Kings past Ducks

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings are finally finding that championship swagger they had last year while winning the Stanley Cup.

Slava Voynov gave the Kings their first lead of the game in the third period on a goal set up by Anze Kopitar, and Los Angeles went on to post a 5-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday at Staples Center.

The Ducks (13-3-1) had their six-game winning streak snapped. The Kings (9-6-2) won their fourth game in a row and their sixth in the last seven.

"We constantly kept saying how important these two points were: division game, team that's in second place and team that's hot," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "That was the first time, in the third period, that I felt we were clicking like we did last year, and the crowd was going nuts."

The Kings scored three third-period goals to break a tie as the Ducks' unraveled.

Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth lost for the first time this season after winning eight games in a row. He stopped 20 of 24 shots. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick finished with 24 saves.

On the winning goal, Kopitar, who had three assists, passed from behind the net to Voynov, who scored from the faceoff circle, through Fasth's legs. Dustin Brown was also credited with his 200th career assist on the goal, which came 4:46 into the third period.

The Kings subsequently went on a power play after Sheldon Souray was assessed a slashing penalty. Jake Muzzin scored 15 seconds later on a shot from the top of the slot to give the Kings a 4-2 lead at 6:23.

Jeff Carter made it 5-2 on an empty-net goal with 21 seconds left.

The Kings moved into seventh place in the Western Conference standings. They've been on the outside of the eight playoff spots most of the season.

"Is that where we are?" Kings coach Darryl Sutter asked. "Good. But the other afternoon, we were in it, and by the time I got home and in my jammies, we were out of it."

Brown scored his third goal in as many games, this one to tie the score at 2 at 17:53 of the second period on a zinger from the top of the slot that went in off the crossbar. Kopitar and Justin Williams assisted on the goal.

The Ducks took a 2-1 lead at 5:51 of the second period when center Saku Koivu scored a power-play goal with Quick out of the net and Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi unable to clear the puck.

One day earlier, Anaheim beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 in overtime. The Ducks' third-period performance made it seem as if they had tired legs.

"It was the second game of a back-to-back, but I thought the first half of the game we came out hard and played well and were able to match their intensity," Koivu said. "In the third, we had a power play and got a couple of great chances there but couldn't get the puck in the net. Then they got the third goal and another one right after that, so they really caught the momentum, and we really didn't get anything going for the last 10 minutes.

"Maybe we ran out of gas there."

Anaheim's Andrew Cogliano scored off a rebound in front of the net just 13 seconds into the second period for the first goal of the game.

Kings winger Dustin Penner, who has won the Stanley Cup with the Ducks and Kings, tied the score at 1 at 3:16 in the second period. He scored his first goal of the season by tapping in a shot between Fasth's legs from the slot.

The Kings reversed the result from the previous meeting. The Ducks beat the Kings 7-4 behind a hat trick from center Nick Bonino on Feb. 2. The 11 goals made it the highest-scoring game in the history of the series.

"I don't think we beat them too soundly down there (in Anaheim)," Bonino said. "I mean, we had an empty-netter just like they did. So for the most part, that was a close game, and I think you'd have to say the same thing about tonight. We both played hard. I don't think we played our worst game by any means. But when it counted in the third period, they got a couple of goals and were able to pull away."

Early in the second period, Jordan Nolan and Souray dropped the gloves, and Nolan got the better of that one. They were both assessed five-minute majors for fighting.

"(Souray) is always trying to be an intimidator and chirpy," Doughty said. "For Noles to step up and be the bigger and stronger guy, that was great to see. Everyone was pumped up after that."

NOTES: The Ducks and Montreal Canadiens are tied for second in the NHL with 27 points. The Chicago Blackhawks lead with 35. ... The Kings play 11 of their next 14 games at home. The Kings were on the road for eight of the previous 10 February games because Staples Center was hosting the Grammys. ... Former Anaheim general manager Brian Burke was hired by the Ducks again last week as a part-time scout. He was fired as the Toronto Maple Leafs' general manager last month. ... After a 3-5-2 start this season, the Kings are 6-1-0. ... Kings defenseman Doughty, who had 10 goals in the regular season last year, hasn't scored a goal yet this year ... The Kings had their sixth consecutive sellout and 32nd since the start of last season.
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