Carter, Kings Defeat Ducks 4-2
If there was ever a time for the league's lowest scoring team to finally get consistent offensive play, this is it. (Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)
It took three games, but new addition Jeff Carter finally found his scoring touch in Los Angeles. The twenty-seven year old winger netted two pivotal goals on five shots and the Kings defeated their ‘Freeway Faceoff’ opponent Anaheim Ducks by a 4-2 score.
Carter had previously recorded fifteen goals on the year, all of which of course were collected with Columbus. In his final game as a Blue Jacket two weeks earlier, Carter scored a hat trick and came awfully close to grabbing his third trick of the season tonight. If it were not for the right pad of Ducks’ goalie Jonas Hiller, it’s not hard to imagine Carter slamming home his third of the evening.
The win does little for the King’s current place in the Western Conference as they fail to move up in the standings but do however pull within one point for the eighth spot. They are also a mere three points behind the surging Phoenix Coyotes for the division lead and overall third spot in the conference.
Dustin Brown scored his fifth goal in the last four games several minutes into the first period to give his team a 1-0 lead. It was the first of the Kings two power play goals on the evening, an area which they have steadily improved as the season draws to a close. They are currently ranked twenty-first in the league on the man advantage with thirty-five goals on the year. That’s a huge improvement in just the last few months for this squad.
After Anaheim tied the contest late in the first period, the Kings opened the second with a power play. The call itself, a tripping penalty on Niklas Hagman, was under some dispute. Most notably after the game when Ducks’ head coach Bruce Bodreau, never one to mince words, told reporters that last night’s game featured some of the “worst calls I’ve seen in a friggin’ long time.” He cited referee fatigue for a few of the games inopportune whistles, and may have a point to a certain extent. However, arguing calls after the fact doesn’t really merit attention in a space such as this one and Bodreau can almost certainly expect a call from the NHL, who are never real keen on those who criticize the officiating, in the next few hours.
However, the Kings used the power play to their advantage as Carter scooped up a loose rebound to net his first goal on the evening and sixteenth on the season. After three games without any points at all for Carter, it was certainly a welcome sign for the team that surrendered a promising young defenseman in Jack Johnson and first round draft pick for the former all-star.
Then the Richards-Carter connection that everyone in L.A. had been waiting for finally happened with the latter’s second goal. Richards attracted the attention of three Ducks players before feeding Carter with a pass right into the slot. From there, the perennial goal scorer knew what to do as he deposited a wrister past an outstretched Hiller. The score stood at 3-1 following the goal and the Kings never looked back again, even despite an Anaheim goal late in the second period that cut the lead to one.
Anze Kopitar finished things off with an empty net tally in the contest’s dying minutes and the Kings emerged victorious for the second game in a row. By stringing together consecutive wins, this team may find that inserting themselves back in the playoff picture is a much easier task.
But speaking of easier, things won’t get that particular way soon as the team heads out for a four-game road trip next. The journey includes visits to three of the Western Conference’s toughest teams in Detroit, Chicago and Nashville. Even returning home with half of the possible eight points they could earn might be deemed a success, but it will be a nice test for a squad which has done so very little with the expectations that were laid out prior to the season’s opening.