Manor Rapid Review: Kings Wrap Up Homestand With 3-2 Shootout Win Over Ducks

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In the end, the LA Kings pretty much got what they needed out of their just completed three-game homestand. On Saturday night, they defeated the visiting Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in a shootout to improve to 8-0-0 in the last eight editions of the Freeway Faceoff. More importantly, they took two out of the three games at Crytop.com Arena this week, running their record in Downtown LA to 11-10-6. They’re also 3-1 at home under new coach Jim Hiller, another positive sign compared to earlier in the season.

Wearing their popular alternate uniform kit, including chrome helmets, Hiller’s squad picked up power Play goals from Kevin Fiala and Drew Doughty, providing them with just enough offense in regulation. Meanwhile, the Ducks capitalized on several Kings mistakes, even converting a shorthanded 2-on-1 goal in the second period.

Most of the game was sloppy, with both teams surrendering solid offensive chances for the other side. Even with these high-quality looks, however, Saturday’s contest required a shootout. PL Dubois and Trevor Moore each scored during the skills competition, while netminder David Rittich stopped 2-out-of-3 shots.

NOT TONIGHT
🙅‍♂️
LA KINGS WIN
👑
@LAKings | #GoKingsGo | #FreewayFaceoff pic.twitter.com/N8q6qh0glV

— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) February 25, 2024


Despite securing two points and a win, the Kings have now gone over two full games without an even-strength goal. This is something they’ll need to correct as they continue to fight for playoff positioning. LA’s 5-on-5 offense was a hallmark of their early-season success.

Win Streak Vs. Anaheim: As previously mentioned, Saturday night’s win was the eighth consecutive against the Ducks. It’s not entirely surprising given the very different states of these two teams over the past few years, but the Kings are likely enjoying their sustained run of success against their longtime rivals.

Kempe’s Dominance vs. Anaheim: One player on the Kings who clearly loves playing the Ducks is Adrian Kempe. The Swede now has a 10-game point streak vs. Anaheim, with 19 points in that span after notching two primary assists on Saturday. Teams hope their top-end players show up in rivalry games, and Kempe has more than fulfilled his part against Orange County’s finest in recent years.

Doughty’s Offensive Resurgence: Drew Doughty’s power play goal in the second period was his 13th tally of the season; the third best total of his career. Doughty’s shot mentality on LA’s top power play unit has been a valuable weapon for the Kings all season. In the process, it’s helped the veteran defenseman return to producing at the rate he did earlier in his career.



New-look Defense: The Kings were forced to restructure their defensive pairings due to Mikey Anderson’s injury status. Because of this, Saturday’s game was only the second time all season that Brandt Clarke and Jordan Spence were both in the lineup simultaneously. Previously, the coaching staff had been rotating their two young defensemen, partially to best facilitate their development. Yet, they may no longer have much of a choice – at least in the short-term. In addition, Vladislav Gavrikov was paired with Doughty, a duo that has seen little time together during Gavrikov’s tenure in Los Angeles.

Shat Sheet Takeaways: LA registered 50 shots on John Gibson. Generating such a high volume of potential opportunities could help kickstart an LA offense that has been rather underwhelming as of late. Hiller and the coaching staff should be hoping this is something their players can continue as they embark on their Western Canada road trip.

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