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Carter, Richards help Kings top Ducks

The Mike Richards and Jeff Carter connection finally worked as well on the ice as it does off of it.

Carter scored two goals, including the eventual game-winner in the second period and Richards assisted on both tallies as the Los Angeles Kings picked up a crucial two points in the standings with a 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday at Staples Center.

Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar also scored, Richards added a third assist and Dwight King chipped in with two helpers for Los Angeles, which has won three of their last four. The victory gives the Kings 72 points and pulls them within three points of Phoenix for the top spot in the Pacific Division. Jonathan Quick made 29 saves in the win.

"He's a very good skater and he has the ability to be in the right place in the right time," Kings head coach Darryl Sutter said of Carter.

Sheldon Brookbank and Devante Smith-Pelly lit the lamp for the Ducks, who, with 66 points, are in 13th place in the West and seven points back of the Stars for the eighth spot with 16 games remaining. Jonas Hiller was touched for three goals on 19 shots in defeat.

Carter's winner came at 13:53 of the second period to make it 3-1 after he took a perfect drop pass from Richards in the slot and ripped a wrister past Hiller, but Smith-Pelly got it right back for the Ducks just 13 seconds later when he beat Quick through the five-hole with a wrist shot from the right circle.

Anaheim pulled Hiller with less than two minutes remaining in favor of the extra skater and got some excellent pressure in the offensive zone, but was unable to find an equalizer before Kopitar scored into the empty net with 15 seconds left to put it away.

"We're in very high spirits, it's a great feeling to help the team," Carter said. "I think Richards and I are in sync."

Los Angeles opened the scoring with a power-play tally at 12:15 of the first frame. Slava Voynov sent a cross-ice pass to Alec Martinez at the left point. Martinez walked in a few steps and let a slap shot go that was stopped by Hiller, but the Kings had numbers in the crease and Brown spotted the loose puck and popped it home.

Anaheim evened the score at 15:42 after Teemu Selanne won an offensive zone draw back to Brookbank at the right point. Brookbank floated one toward the net that hit off bodies in front and changed direction before winding up in behind Quick.

The Kings jumped back on top just 2:39 into the second period on the power- play after Richards ripped a slap shot on net from the left point that was stopped by Hiller, but Carter was on the doorstep to put home the rebound.

"They're obviously a very strong team and they do a very good job of protecting a one-goal lead," Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said. "This was a playoff game for us. This conference is tough to make up ground, especially with all these teams fighting for the eighth spot."

Game Notes

Carter has eight points in his last nine games...The Kings improved to 19-0-2 when scoring three or more goals in a game...Carter's two points were his first in a Los Angeles uniform since being traded from Columbus on February 23...Brown has five goals in his last four games...Los Angeles went 2-for-4 on the man advantage, while the Ducks failed to score on four power-play opportunities.