LA Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks: Biggest Takeaways from Game 2
Marian Gaborik, Alec Martinez and Dwight King tallied for Los Angeles while Jonathan Quick made 36 saves to earn the victory. Patrick Maroon scored the only goal of the game for the Ducks.
The Kings have now won their last six playoff games after losing their first three.
Anaheim now faces an uphill battle and needs to win four of the next five games to capture the series.
Here are the five biggest things we learned from Game 2. Feel free to comment on any of these or to add another aspect of the game that you thought should have been included. As always, indicate why you feel the way you do.
Jonathan Quick Is in Stanley Cup-Winning Form
Jonathan Quick remains on top of his game so far in this series.
In Game 2, the Kings starter made 36 saves and allowed only one goal to earn the victory.
Quick's play is similar to his Conn Smythe-winning performance in 2012 when he led the Kings to their first Stanley Cup title.
Right now, Quick is seeing the puck well, anticipating shots and exhibiting great rebound control.
The Ducks are taking a lot of shots in this series but have only three goals to show for it in two games.
If Quick continues to play this well, the Kings will be tough to beat.
Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf Need to Start Producing
In the regular season, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry combined to score 74 goals. In the six-game series with the Dallas Stars, the Ducks' dynamic duo totaled five goals. In the first two games of this series, neither of the Ducks' top forwards has found the back of the net.
Simply put, the Ducks need more from Getzlaf and Perry if they are going to win this series.
Both players were a minus-two in this game, and while Perry did manage five shots on goal, Getzlaf was nearly invisible for large stretches of time.
The Ducks need their best players to be their best players. Right now, Getzlaf and Perry aren't living up to that billing.
Marian Gaborik Is Hot
Goal scorers tend to be streaky in the game of hockey. When they're hot, goals come in bunches. When they cool off, they can go a long time in between goal celebrations (see: Nash, Rick).
Right now, Marian Gaborik is on a hot streak, and the timing couldn't be better for the Los Angeles Kings.
Gaborik scored the tying goal in Game 1 with seven seconds left in regulation time, then scored the overtime winner as well.
In Game 2, Gaborik opened the scoring just 34 seconds into the game to quiet down the crowd and put the Ducks on notice that the Kings' win in the series opener was no fluke.
The Kings had only 17 shots on goal as a team in Game 2, but Gaborik had four of them.
He's playing with confidence right now and using his speed and skill to create scoring chances. Better yet, he's cashing in on them as well.
The Kings often struggle to score goals as a team. Having a sniper in a groove in their lineup is a big plus for Los Angeles right now. If he stays hot, the Ducks may have trouble making this a long series.
Jonas Hiller Has Been Good Enough
Entering this series, one of the biggest question marks surrounding the Ducks was supposed to be goaltending.
Bruce Boudreau decided to start veteran Jonas Hiller in the first two games of this series, and while he has no victories to show for it, Hiller has played well enough to win in both games.
Sure, his statistics in Game 2 don't jump out at you. Hiller stopped 14 of 16 shots. But of the five goals Hiller has allowed in the series (the third goal in Game 2 was an empty-net tally), none of them can truly be considered "soft."
Hiller hasn't been as good as Quick, but he's done what was expected of him and a bit more thus far in this series.
The Ducks are 0-2, but Hiller isn't the reason for their early series deficit.
The Kings Defense Is Showing Its Depth
In the battle between the NHL's highest-scoring offense (Anaheim) and its stingiest defense (Los Angeles), the defense is winning.
The Kings were without both Willie Mitchell and Robyn Regehr in Game 2 due to injuries, but they still managed to keep the Ducks from bothering Jonathan Quick too often.
On those rare occasions when Quick allowed a rebound, the Los Angeles defense was usually there to clear the puck out of danger.
As a bonus, Alec Martinez scored the game-winning goal for the Kings.
Coach Darryl Sutter showed confidence in his defense and played all six defensemen he dressed for Game 2. Matt Greene played only 13 minutes and 44 seconds, but the remaining five blueliners played between 18:21 (Martinez) and 26:25 (Drew Doughty).
By balancing the defense's playing time, Sutter was able to keep his best players fresh for the third period and protect his one-goal lead late in the game. This should produce even more benefits as the series continues.
The Kings defense is playing well. The scary part is it could play even better when the injured players return to the lineup.