ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Thanks to a schedule quirk, the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks had to wait three months into the regular season to start the Freeway Faceoff.
The Southern California rivals still had a little something extra for each other, and the Kings opened the series on top by the usual slim margins.
Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist and Vincent Lecavalier added a power-play goal in the Kings' 3-2 victory over the Ducks on Sunday night.
Tyler Toffoli scored his 22nd goal and Jonathan Quick made 30 saves for the Kings, who beat the Ducks in regulation for the first time in 11 regular-season meetings. The Freeway Faceoff featured its usual hard hits and fights, but the Kings turned in a gritty defensive effort in the face of a relentless third-period charge by the Ducks.
''Every time you play Anaheim, you know it's going to be a physical battle,'' Kings defenseman Alec Martinez said. ''It's usually really physical, and we saw a couple fights there. That's normal for our two teams.''
The Kings had lost their last four regular-season visits to Anaheim, and the Ducks won four of five Freeway Faceoffs last season, rallying from a third-period deficit four times. The rivalry game was decided by one goal for the eighth time in the last 10 editions.
But the Kings and Ducks have already exchanged their traditional roles this season: Los Angeles has soared to a healthy lead in the Pacific Division standings, while three-time defending division champion Anaheim is fighting to get into playoff position.
''I think we showed we can play with them,'' said Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano, whose apparent third-period goal was disallowed for a kicking motion. ''They are probably the toughest team to play in the league when they are playing their game. They are just very good. I think we had them on their heels a lot in the third period.''
David Perron scored a third-period goal in his debut for Anaheim, but the Ducks lost in regulation for just the third time in 11 games since Christmas. Rickard Rakell also scored, and John Gibson stopped 23 shots in a duel of All-Star goalies.
''It's always tough to play them,'' Toffoli said. ''It's usually pretty loud with all the Kings fans in here, which makes it easier for us to play them.''
Perron played 16:26 in his debut for the Ducks, and he ended his personal 19-game goal drought with a long wrist shot early in the third period. Anaheim acquired the veteran left wing from Pittsburgh late Friday night, with Carl Hagelin going to the Penguins in a swap of offensively struggling forwards.
''I didn't really expect that much with the six-hour flight yesterday, but I actually got a lot better as the game went on,'' Perron said. ''I got some legs and got some chances, and we almost tied it up there. The last 48 hours was pretty crazy for me, and I'm glad it is out of the way.''
Lecavalier, a healthy scratch for most of the season in Philadelphia, opened the scoring with a goal in his second straight game. He has three points in five games while excelling in the faceoff circle since he agreed to join Los Angeles for what he says is his last NHL season.
Rakell evened it on a remarkable deflection of Shea Theodore's shot with the shaft of his stick while reaching across his body one-handed.
Kopitar deflected Brayden McNabb's shot in front for his 13th goal, punctuating his second game since finalizing an $80 million contract extension with the Kings on Saturday morning.
The Ducks have been outscored 48-20 in the second period.
''It's frustrating, that's for sure,'' Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. ''I think we lead the league in fewest goals allowed in the first and third period and might be dead last in the second period. It's consistency, and we preach about it a lot. Hopefully sometime in the very near future we get that down.''
NOTES: Theodore got a point in the third straight game of his rookie season. ... Kings D Jake Muzzin extended his point streak to seven games. He has the longest point streak by a Kings defenseman since December 2005, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... Anaheim put D Clayton Stoner (hip) on injured reserve and recalled G Anton Khudobin. Frederik Andersen has an upper-body injury.