Ducks beat Kings 3-2, take over division lead
LOS ANGELES (AP) The Anaheim Ducks are back in a familiar spot - alone in first place in the Pacific Division for the first time this season after winning three straight division titles.
Two victories over the Los Angeles Kings six days apart helped them complete their remarkable comeback.
David Perron scored the go-ahead goal on a power play in the second period and the Ducks broke a franchise record with their 11th consecutive victory, beating their Southern California rivals 3-2 on Saturday.
''It's always a good thing to set new records, but that's not something we focus too much on during the season,'' forward Jakob Silfverberg said. ''We just try to win games. Obviously if you set a record, you've been doing something well.''
The Ducks trailed the Kings by as many as 16 points on the morning of Jan. 20. But since then, Anaheim has gone 18-1-1 and Los Angeles 9-9-1. The teams each have 18 games left, including one more matchup on April 7 at Los Angeles.
''I think they always believed,'' coach Bruce Boudreau said. ''I mean, we haven't changed much from what we did last year. There were a couple of big meetings, and we converted our style just a little bit.''
The Ducks lead the season series 3-1 and have won 11 of the past 14 regular-season meetings overall - including a 4-2 victory last Sunday at Honda Center.
''This is a position we want to be in, but we're not satisfied right now,'' said forward Rickard Rakell, who got into his first fight in 154 career regular-season NHL games. ''We just want to keep going and keep this momentum up.''
Perron gave Anaheim a 2-1 lead with just over 4 minutes remaining in the second, redirecting Cam Fowler's 50-foot wrist shot from the slot past Jonathan Quick's stick just 10 seconds after Tanner Pearson was sent off for holding Perron. It was his 12th goal this season and eighth in 21 games since joining the Ducks in a trade with Pittsburgh on Jan. 15.
''I don't think any of it has to do with me, other than the fact that we have more balance in the lines,'' Perron said.
Silfverberg and Ryan Kesler also scored for Anaheim and Frederik Andersen made 32 saves in his first start against the Kings this season, helping Boudreau become the fastest coach in NHL history to reach 400th regular-season victories.
''I must have had good teams,'' Boudreau said. ''I was lucky in Washington, and lucky to have a great team here.''
The Ducks are a league-best 25-4-2 since Christmas. They have won 11 straight games against division opponents, and are 12-1-3 in their past 16 road games overall - including six straight victories away from Honda Center.
Perron and Silfverberg extended the Ducks' streak of consecutive games with a power-play goal to 11, tying the franchise record set in March 1997. They are 19 for 43 during this streak.
''I could never have forseen the power play being as productive as it is, but they have a tremendous amount of confidence right now,'' Boudreau said. ''The leaps and bounds that we've made in the last two months on that have been incredible, and (assistant coach) Paul MacLean deserves all the credit for that.''
Andersen tied a career best with his seventh straight victory and is 13-0-1 in his past 14 decisions. His last regulation loss was on Dec. 21 against the Islanders in Brooklyn.
Milan Lucic and Drew Doughty scored power-play goals for the Kings and Quick stopped 19 shots.
Kesler, playing in his 800th regular-season game, opened the scoring at 3:16 of the second period with his 14th goal. Then came four consecutive power-play goals, two by each team.
''The majority of the time, special teams are the difference. And that wasn't any different today,'' Kings center Anze Kopitar said. ''You can always execute better than we did, but it was a hard-fought game with a lot of emotions.''
What began as a routine collision along the boards between Kyle Clifford and Ducks leading goal-scorer Corey Perry in the Los Angeles zone at 6:58 of the first period turned into a shoving match between them - then escalated into a free-for-all that resulted in 66 penalty minutes in one fell swoop.
Fighting majors were assessed to Rakell and Kevin Bieksa of the Ducks, along with Andy Andreoff and Kris Versteeg of the Kings. Andreoff and Bieksa received game misconducts, while Anaheim's Jamie McGinn and Los Angeles' Luke Schenn got 10-minute misconducts.
NOTES: Quick earned an assist on the Kings' first goal with a long clearing pass off the boards that Vincent Lecavalier caught up with before setting up Lucic. ... Anaheim has allowed 15 power-play goals in its past 16 games. The Kings have given up 13 power-play goals over their past 14 games. ... Lucic's goal was his first in 13 career games against Anaheim. He has now scored at least once against every NHL team. ... A victory Monday night at home against Washington would enable the Ducks to tie Chicago and Florida for the longest winning streaks in the league this season.