ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Although the longest winning streak in the Los Angeles Kings' history finally was stopped by their closest rivals, they hope the momentum from that confidence-building run will extend all the way into the spring.
Oscar Moller and Anze Kopitar scored for the Kings, who hadn't lost since Jan. 11 while rising to third place in the Western Conference. Los Angeles took little notice of their winning streak while it was going on, so the loss also seemed to mean little to a club still more interested in securing its first playoff berth since 2002.
"It was definitely fun," Kopitar said. "It was a good ride for us, but I thought they played a good hockey game. We just couldn't get a bounce here and there, or it would have been different. I had some chances in the third, and if one of those pops in, it's a different game."
Los Angeles also had won five straight over Anaheim, including a 6-4 win last Thursday at Staples Center. But the Ducks won by scoring three times in the second period despite several sparkling saves by workhorse Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who couldn't bail out all of his teammates' defensive lapses.
Quick stopped 29 shots for the Kings, but the NHL's wins leader (34) remained one victory shy of tying Mario Lessard for the 29-year-old franchise record. Los Angeles, which rallied from a three-goal deficit against Detroit two days earlier, fell one victory shy of a club-record eighth straight road win against a club that hasn't lost at home since Dec. 6.
"The pace was pretty intense," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "They brought the best that they could bring, and took it to us. I thought they brought the energy of a playoff game, and we had some mistakes that they capitalized off. Hopefully next time against them, we can match that."
The last-place Ducks tied their own franchise record with their 10th straight home win, but Ryan Getzlaf's sprained left ankle sapped any joy from the dressing room. Shortly after scoring his 15th goal in the second period, the Canadian Olympian skated sluggishly to the bench and didn't return.
"When you have everyone going and then lose a guy, it's tough," said Perry, a fellow Olympian. "I mean, you can't really replace a guy like that because he's got tremendous skill and he's a big body and he's a great player. So it's hard to replace him, but there's guys who can step up and fill his role."
Jonas Hiller made 35 saves, while Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu had a goal and an assist apiece for the Ducks, who have won 12 of 17 overall despite last Thursday's loss — but any extended absence by their top playmaking center could be brutal. Though X-rays revealed no broken bones, Getzlaf will be reevaluated with an MRI on Tuesday.
"We have to win as many games as possible to have a chance to make the playoffs at all, so tonight was a really important one," Hiller said. "Everybody saw tonight how much we wanted to win. Those three days off definitely were good for us. We showed right away that we had a lot of energy and tried to put pressure on them. They had chances to come back, and it was just a hard battle."