For the Anaheim Ducks, it doesn't get much better than beating the rival Los Angeles Kings in back-to-back games—especially if the second game comes in front of a huge crowd at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
That's exactly what the Ducks did on Saturday night as they dispatched of the Kings, 3-0, on Saturday night. With the unique setting of a baseball stadium providing a historic backdrop, Anaheim utilized two early goals to build the lead and rode a dominant performance from goalie Jonas Hiller to the win.
Hiller credited his defense after the game, according to the Ducks' Twitter account:
#NHLDucks Hiller on his performance: "I got in the game early, and we did a really good job of clearing space so I could see shots."— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) January 26, 2014
As with the NHL's other ventures into outdoor hockey, this game certainly had a special atmosphere. Over 50,000 people were in attendance for the California clash.
The NHL Instagram account provided a glimpse of what the action looked like from the stands:
Once the puck dropped it didn't take long for the Ducks to get the scoring started. Corey Perry found the net just under three minutes into the first period off a miss from Ryan Getzlaf. The score marked the first outdoor goal in Ducks history:
Ducks fans wouldn't have to wait long to see their team light the lamp again. Matt Beleskey beat Jonathan Quick to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead before the first period was even half over.
To make the slow start even more frustrating for the Kings, they were able to outshoot the Ducks in the first frame. Led by Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter, Los Angeles had 20 shots on goal in the first 20 minutes to the Ducks' seven.
The second period would go by with much less action than the first. Anaheim was less efficient with the few opportunities that came its way. Both teams mustered just six shots and the Kings were unable to close the gap. Despite owning a slight advantage in nearly every facet of the game, a third-period comeback was the only way they were going to get back in it.
Unfortunately for the Kings, frustration was the theme of the night. Regardless of how well they played in relation to the Ducks' effort, they simply couldn't beat Jonas Hiller.
An aggravated Quick even got a bit chippy with Kyle Palmieri after a collision:
Despite the Kings best efforts to finally have a break come their way, Hiller was simply too good and continued to shut the door. An empty-net goal from Andrew Cogliano would seal the deal and give us the final score of 3-0 as the Ducks continued to roll and the Kings' losing streak was extended to five games.
|Matt Beleskey||Anaheim Ducks||A-|
|Corey Perry||Anaheim Ducks||B+|
|Ryan Getzlaf||Anaheim Ducks||B+|
|Jonas Hiller||Anaheim Ducks||A|
|Jeff Carter||Los Angeles Kings||B+|
|Anze Kopitar||Los Angeles Kings||B|
|Drew Doughty||Los Angeles Kings||B+|
|Jonathan Quick||Los Angeles Kings||B|
Top Star: Jonas Hiller
The Ducks certainly deserve credit for building a quick 2-0 lead, but the real difference in this one was Jonas Hiller's play. The goalie simply refused to cave to the Kings and was 36-of-36 in save opportunities.
This game was by no means a perfect performance by the Ducks. They gave up a 36-21 deficit in shots on goal, but Hiller continuously slammed the door on L.A.
The Kings will remain in-state to take on the San Jose Sharks on the road on Monday, Jan. 27. The Ducks will host the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, Jan. 28.