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Anaheim Ducks vs. Los Angeles Kings: Biggest Takeaways from Game 3

Brad KurtzbergContributor IMay 9, 2014

Anaheim Ducks vs. Los Angeles Kings: Biggest Takeaways from Game 3

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    The Ducks got back into the series with a big road win in Game 3.
    The Ducks got back into the series with a big road win in Game 3.Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    The Anaheim Ducks got back into their second-round NHL playoff series with the Los Angeles Kings with a 3-2 win in Game 3 at the Staples Center on Thursday. The Kings still lead the series 2-1.

    Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne and Ben Lovejoy scored for the Ducks, while Frederik Andersen and Jonas Hiller combined to make 29 saves for Anaheim. Jeff Carter and Mike Richards scored for the Kings.

    The loss ended a six-game winning streak for Los Angeles.

    Game 4 will be played Saturday night when the Ducks will try to even the series with another road win.

    Here are the five biggest things we learned from Game 3. 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.

The Ducks Found a Way to Beat Jonathan Quick

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    Teemu Selanne demonstrated how to beat Jonathan Quick.
    Teemu Selanne demonstrated how to beat Jonathan Quick.Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    The Ducks finally proved they could beat Jonathan Quick.

    The formula had been laid out in Games 1 and 2, but the Ducks were unable to execute it. In Game 3, they actually used the strategy effectively.

    The two biggest factors were to make Quick commit to wide shots and overplay his angles, and to get bodies in front of the Kings' goalie for rebounds, deflections and screens.

    Both of the first two goals involved cross-ice passes that took advantage of Quick's tendency to play sharp angles. They also involved shots from in close, something the Ducks failed to do very often during the first two contests.

    In Game 2, Anaheim registered 37 shots on goal, but had only a handful of quality scoring chances. In Game 3, the Ducks had only 22 shots on goal, but the quality of the shots was much higher.

    It won't be easy, but the Ducks now know they are capable of scoring on Jonathan Quick and winning a game.

     

Power Plays Will Play a Key Role in This Series

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    Three goals in Game 3 were scored on the power play.
    Three goals in Game 3 were scored on the power play.Harry How/Getty Images

    This series has been low-scoring, hard-hitting and closely contested throughout the first three games.

    When goals are hard to come by, converting on power plays becomes vital to the success of both teams.

    The first three goals in Game 3 all came when a team had the man advantage. They were also all similar goals with cross-ice passes to players near the far post.

    Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne scored on the power play for Anaheim, while Jeff Carter's second-period goal came while the Kings had the extra skater.

    Neither team has scored more than three goals in any game of this series. Expect the power play to remain a critical component for both teams going forward. In fact, the team that scores more goals with the man advantage will likely advance to the Western Conference Final.

The Ducks' Goalies Proved Resilient

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    Frederik Andersen played well before getting hurt.
    Frederik Andersen played well before getting hurt.Harry How/Getty Images

    Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau decided to change goalies for Game 3. Jonas Hiller was on the bench and rookie Frederik Andersen got the start.

    Andersen played well before leaving with an undisclosed injury midway through the third period. He stopped 22 of 23 shots and left with his team ahead 2-1. Andersen appeared to injure his right knee.

    After Andersen left, Hiller stepped in and preserved the lead. He allowed just one goal on eight shots. That tally didn't come until Ben Lovejoy's goal gave Anaheim a 3-1 lead and there was less than one minute left in the third period.

    Hiller had played well enough in Games 1 and 2 to win, although his team didn't score enough goals to earn victories. Andersen also played well before leaving the game.

    Boudreau likely made the goalie switch to give his team a spark. It seemed to work. But through three games, the Ducks have shown they have two goalies capable of playing well enough to keep them competitive in this series.

     

The Rivalry Between These Teams Is Getting More Intense

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    Game 3 was another physical contest.
    Game 3 was another physical contest.Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

    Through three games in this series, one things has become clear: The hits just keep on coming.

    Both teams continued to play a physical style of play, and neither team hesitated to give an extra glove to the face, push or tap to an opposing player after the whistle.

    In Game 3, the Kings were credited with 55 hits led by Dustin Brown's seven. The Ducks recorded 35 hits and were also very physical throughout the game. In fact, the Ducks set the tone early in Game 3 with several big hits in the opening few minutes. The highlight was a hard hit by Matt Beleskey that sent Kings defenseman Drew Doughty head-first over the boards..

    Ironically enough, the team that outhit its opponents lost each of the first three games of this series.

    There's nothing like a playoff series to intensify a rivalry. With each passing game, it becomes clear that these teams like each other less and less.

    Expect both teams to continue to hit throughout the rest of this series.

     

Teemu Selanne Can Still Contribute

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    Teemu Selanne is still capable of scoring goals for the Ducks.
    Teemu Selanne is still capable of scoring goals for the Ducks.Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Teemu Selanne is 43 and will retire at the end of this year's playoffs.

    He won't win any more league scoring titles or score 40 goals in a season, but he's still capable of scoring key goals for the Ducks.

    "The Finnish Flash" has scored twice in this series, which is even more remarkable when you consider Anaheim has scored only six goals as a team in three games.

    Selanne is only playing about 14 minutes per game, but he's making those minutes count. The veteran winger cannot dominate games anymore, but he can still raise his level of play in clutch situations.

    #NHLDucks Boudreau on Selanne: "Since Game 6 against Dallas, he seems like he's found the fountain of youth. I hope that keeps going."

    — Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) May 9, 2014

     

    Don't be surprised to see Selanne score another clutch goal or two before this series is over.

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