Kings beat Ducks to win eighth straight game at home

The Kings extend their home winning streak to eight games by winning three out of four games against the Ducks this season.

LOS ANGELES– Crypto.com Arena hosted the Freeway Faceoff between the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks. Though the Ducks lost to the Calgary Flames at home on Friday night, the Kings aimed to capitalize on their big win on Thursday, even without their star player Anze Kopitar on Saturday night.

Kevin Fiala sealed the game with his goal for the Kings in the last few minutes of the game, defeating the Ducks 3-1. This was the final matchup against Anaheim this season defeating them three times in four attempts. Los Angeles has now won five out of their last six games. David Rittich had a terrific game, stopping 28 shots by the Ducks. This win gave the Kings a three-point lead over Vegas with two games remaining in the regular season. Los Angeles has now set the record for the longest home-winning streak since its first eight home games to start the 2010-11 season.

The Kings are gearing up for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and they hope to maintain their recent winning streak. Meanwhile, the Ducks have been struggling lately, having lost 15 of their last 18 games leading up to tonight’s match. Jakob Silfverberg, forward for Anaheim, made an announcement earlier this week that he will be retiring from the NHL after this season. In tonight’s game, Kings goaltender David Rittich was the starter, replacing Talbot.

Period one ended without any score despite the three power play opportunities the Kings had. In the second period, Pierre-Luc Dubois replaced Kopitar and scored the first goal of the night for Los Angeles. Matt Roy followed with the second goal, giving the Kings a commanding 2-0 lead over the Ducks. Although Anaheim had several chances, they were unable to score in the first two periods. It wasn’t until the third period that Ducks’ Trevor Zegras scored an unassisted goal with 11:18 remaining in the game. The Kings’ defense was excellent, playing great zone defense and giving the Ducks their fourth loss in five games.

Dubois scored his first goal in 14 games, a good sign for the Kings as they head into the playoffs. Jim Hiller discussed their slow start in the first period.

“I thought the first period was very sleepy, I thought we got going better in the second period and then they made their push in the third,” Kings coach Jim Hiller said.

After the game, Hiller mentioned the absence of Kopitar and stated that if it were a playoff game, Kopitar would have played against the Ducks. The team lacked intensity and started the game flat without Kopitar in the starting lineup.

“I thought we did a good job without Kopi out there, it’s a hard guy not to have in there because he means so much to everybody but the guys did a good job,” Hiller said.

There is a major challenge in maintaining intensity and focus during the last two games of the season. Hiller commended his team for their win over the Ducks on Saturday. He also praised Vladislav Gavrikov’s performance and expressed that he feels Gavrikov does not receive enough recognition. Roy increased the lead to 2-0 with a wrist shot from near the blue line while Dostal was being screened. After the game, Roy spoke to the media in the locker room and expressed his concerns about inconsistency in winning at home and on the road, as well as his worries moving forward into the playoffs.

“Not sure, sometimes is the way the season plays out. We knew we had to dial in at home because we weren’t doing well at all in the beginning. We did know we had to step up better at home and I’m glad we did and now we need to fix the other part,” Kings Matt Roy said.

Dubois mentioned the team’s confidence following an eight-game winning streak at home and what they are looking forward to as the season is coming to an end.

“Home ice is huge. If you play three games at home, if you could win the first and a second one, the series changes. We’ve always been good on the road all year,” Kings Pierre-Luc Dubois said.

The Kings have been performing exceptionally well at home since the All-Star break, with a record of 13-2-1, which is the best in the NHL. This could be attributed to the coaching change that occurred a few months ago, which saw Hiller taking over as interim coach. With only two games left in the season, the standings are tight, but it appears that the Kings may end up playing against the Edmonton Oilers.

“Everyone’s keeping tabs on the standings every day. So we’re familiar with it all,” Roy said. “Even though we clinched, every game is still important. We still want to move up in the standings and just keep keep elevating our game so that when the playoffs come, we’re ready to go.”