Ducks top Kings, near division title

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 08, 2013
Corey Perry scored late in the second period and added the winning goal in the shootout, leading the Anaheim Ducks closer to the Pacific Division title with a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night. Matt Beleskey scored the tiebreaking goal on a power play for Anaheim with 15:06 to play, but Kings captain Dustin Brown tied it with 3:45 left in regulation in the third Freeway Faceoff of the season. The Ducks were outshot 38-22, but the Pacific Division leaders were perfect in the shootout. Bobby Ryan and Saku Koivu scored on Jonathan Bernier before Perry ended Anaheim's fourth win in six games with a wrist shot. Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty scored for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who had won five of seven. Bernier stopped 18 shots in just his second loss since Feb. 2 for Los Angeles, which never led. Viktor Fasth made 35 saves, and Kyle Palmieri also scored in regulation as Anaheim extended its division lead over Los Angeles to nine points while remaining five points behind Chicago for the NHL's best record. The Ducks played without captain Ryan Getzlaf for the second straight game. Anaheim's leading scorer and emotional leader is out with a lower body injury after his right leg bent awkwardly late in the Ducks' win over Dallas last Wednesday. The rivalry game featured its usual hard hits and after-the-whistle scuffling. The teams wrap up the Freeway Faceoff series on Saturday night at Staples Center - unless they meet in a playoff series for the first time. Carter tied it for Los Angeles in the final minute of the second period with his Western Conference-leading 23rd goal, but he took a slashing penalty deep in the offensive zone early in the third to set up an unlikely goal by Beleskey, the scrappy depth forward who makes his biggest contributions as an agitator. Beleskey collected the rebound of Sheldon Souray's shot from the point and buried it for his seventh goal of the season - and the first on a power play in his 202-game NHL career. The Kings dominated play after that, and Brown finally evened it when he batted Anze Kopitar's rebound out of the air and past Fasth for the captain's 15th goal. Although the Kings have been Southern California's top team for the past few years, the Ducks have taken charge of the Pacific from the opening days of the lockout-shortened regular season. Anaheim got off to a 22-3-4 start and has scarcely slumped while taking a healthy lead over Los Angeles and San Jose, which has a game in hand. Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter essentially conceded the division race after the Kings' win over Edmonton on Saturday. The Ducks have won just one division championship in their two-decade franchise history, back in 2007 on the way to the Stanley Cup title. ''We know they're a division winner,'' Sutter said. ''When you get off to that type of lead, it's impossible to make it up, so we just concentrate on us.'' Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau disagrees, saying the Kings are still ''nipping at our heels'' for the Pacific title. After Palmieri got his ninth goal of the season less than three minutes in, Doughty evened it in the second period with a power-play slap shot past Carter's screen. The goal was just the third in 39 games this season for Doughty, who scored into an empty net Saturday against Edmonton. Perry cherry-picked a goal late in the second period, with Andrew Cogliano finding him behind Los Angeles' defense for a breakaway and a slick wrist shot. Just 1:18 later, Carter scored for the fifth time in six games, one-timing Mike Richards' pass in front. NOTES: C Matthew Lombardi played his second game for the Ducks, who acquired him from Phoenix last week. D Robyn Regehr played his third game for the Kings, who got him in a trade with Buffalo. ... Kings F Dustin Penner missed his fourth game with a lower body injury. ... The Kings and Ducks both confirmed their serious interest in playing an outdoor game next season. The Kings are working on plans to host a game in January, likely at Dodger Stadium.
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