Kings Take 2-0 Playoffs Series Lead Over Ducks

Jonathan Quick had a great night in goal for the Kings, stopping 35 shots

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Marian Gaborik scored just 34 seconds into the game, and Alec Martinez picked up a goal of his own as the Los Angeles Kings stunned the Anaheim Ducks by a score of 3-1 on Monday night, taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Jonathan Quick had a great night in goal for the Kings, stopping 35 shots and seemingly doing so with ease. The Ducks did get a goal from Patrick Maroon, but it wasn’t enough as they lost their second straight game and put themselves in a huge hole as they prepare to head to Los Angeles for Game 3 of the series.

Unlike Game 1, which saw a lot of defense and not many shots on goal in the early going, Game 2 started out with a bang as the Kings took the lead just 34 seconds into the contest. On the play, Anaheim defenseman Ben Lovejoy drifted too far out to the center of the ice on a 3-on-2 rush by the Kings, and Anze Kopitar found Gaborik wide open. Gaborik ended up deking out Hiller and scored to make it 1-0 Kings.

The Kings seemed to gain a lot of momentum off of that play, and they nearly extended their lead just a few moments later. Hiller had to scramble around the crease to make a couple of key saves, with the biggest one coming as Tanner Pearson fired a shot that deflected off of Jakub Silfverberg’s stick.

After surviving that onslaught, the Ducks finally turned up the offensive pressure, and on a 4-on-3 power play, they were able to score to tie things up. Left wide open in front of the net, Patrick Maroon turned around with the puck and tried to put a pass across the crease to Corey Perry. The pass was inadvertently deflected into the net by Jake Muzzin’s skate, tying the game at 1-1.

The Kings didn’t let the game remain tied for long however, and they scored yet again to take the lead back. This time, it was Alec Martinez scoring his second goal of the series, blasting a shot from the point that ricocheted off of Silfverberg’s leg and floated past Hiller to make it a 2-1 game.

Neither team was able to add anything to their goal total through the end of the first period, but the second period saw a slew of chances for both sides. The Ducks got an early power play after Quick punched Perry in a scrum in the Los Angeles crease, but despite some good puck movement, they weren’t able to put the puck in the net. Maroon ended up negating the remainder of the power play as he slashed Quick to try to force the puck loose, but the Kings couldn’t take advantage of their own power play as the Ducks’ defense really tightened its grip on the proceedings.

In the second half of the period, the Kings picked up a couple of power play opportunities, but they weren’t able to convert on either of them before the final whistle. As the third got underway, the Kings continued on the man-advantage thanks to a penalty by Matt Beleskey, but it was the Ducks that ended up getting the best scoring chances. Fortunately for Los Angeles, Quick was more than up to the task as he made a couple of key saves to keep his team in front.

The Ducks kept pressing even after they had successfully killed off the penalty, but they weren’t able to capitalize on a holding penalty on Slava Voynov. Teemu Selanne had the best opportunity on the power play as he fired in a shot from the goal line along the boards, but Quick got some help from his teammates as they cleared the crease before the Ducks’ forwards could jump in.

The rest of the period played out in much the same way as the rest of the game had, with the Ducks getting the lion’s share of the chances, but most of the chances were one-and-done affairs. Trying to spark his team, Bruce Boudreau pulled Hiller in the closing minutes to tie the game, but the Kings ended up taking advantage with an empty net goal to put the game away. Justin Williams made a nice diving play to push the puck out of the defensive zone and up to center ice, and Dwight King did the rest as he fired a shot home to give the Kings a 2-0 lead in the series.

Anaheim will look to try to get back in the series when it resumes on Thursday night at Staples Center. The game starts at 7pm Pacific time.

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