Kings im­press

It doesn’t count, but the 8-3 win over the Ducks shows a lot, Helene El­liott says.

Los Angeles Times - - Sports - HELENE EL­LIOTT helene.el­liott@latimes.com

Can the Kings be as good when the puck drops Oct. 9 as they were Tues­day in an 8-3 ex­hi­bi­tion rout of the Ducks at Sta­ples Cen­ter?

Quite pos­si­bly. They scored four times on the power play, killed off five dis­ad­van­tages and got bal­anced scor­ing. Anze Ko­pi­tar had four as­sists, de­fense­man Jack John­son had two goals and an as­sist and five play­ers each recorded a goal and an as­sist as the Kings (2-1-1) rolled past the Ducks (2-3) with shock­ingly lit­tle re­sis­tance.

“I don’t think that was ex­pected from any of us or any of you guys,” Ko­pi­tar said to the re­porters who sought an ex­pla­na­tion for this sud­den scor­ing burst.

Can the Ducks be as bad de­fen­sively this sea­son as they were Tues­day in re­fus­ing to take the body and aban­don­ing goal­tender Cur­tis McEl­hin­ney to face 42 shots, in­clud­ing 23 in the first pe­riod?

Quite pos­si­bly. They knew their de­fense would sag af­ter the re­tire­ment of Scott Nie­der­mayer, who watched grimly from the press box Tues­day. But there was no ex­cuse for even a pieced-to­gether de­fense corps to strug­gle as much as that group did.

“You’d al­most think we never prac­ticed de­fen­sive zone cov­er­age if you watched the game and the way we played in our zone tonight,” Ducks Coach Randy Car­lyle said.

The Kings scored two power-play goals in a span of 38 sec­onds in the first pe­riod, one with a two-man ad­van­tage and one with a five-on-four edge, and bom­barded McEl­hin­ney to take a 4-0 lead af­ter one pe­riod.

Corey Perry was sent off for slash­ing at 5:48 and Andy Sut­ton was pe­nal­ized for de­lay of game 40 sec­onds later. The Kings cap­i­tal­ized quickly, with Dustin Brown tap­ping home a re­bound at 7:32 and Wayne Sim­monds bang­ing home a re­bound at 8:10 af­ter Michal Handzus had stolen the puck.

Ryan Smyth made it 3-0 at 12:03 with a back­hand from the right of the slot, and John­son padded the lead to 4-0 at 17:32 with a low shot from about 15 feet in­side the blue line that snaked past McEl­hin­ney.

The Ducks didn’t break through un­til the sec­ond pe­riod, when Todd Marchant wrapped the puck past Jonathan Quick and in­side the post at 3:12.

The Prince­ton alumni so­ci­ety had a feisty meet­ing at 6:16 of the sec­ond pe­riod when Kings en­forcer Kevin West­garth fought Ducks en­forcer Ge­orge Par­ros, who pre­ceded him at the Ivy League school. Kings cen­ter Bray­den Schenn and Ducks de­fense­man Luca Sbisa re­newed hos­til­i­ties, too, tus­sling late in the third pe­riod three years af­ter a bout they en­gaged in while play­ing in the Western Hockey League.

“He ac­tu­ally asked me af­ter we got the two goals and said, ‘I’ll see you in the third pe­riod,’ ” Schenn said. “He asked me again with like three min­utes left. I got pulled off and then I got back out there and he asked me again. . . . When the time comes about I’ll try not to back down.”

The Kings ex­tended their lead to 5-1at 12:20 of the sec­ond pe­riod when Brown car­ried the puck up the right side dur­ing a power play and passed to Handzus for a shot that McEl­hin­ney stopped but couldn’t con­trol. Handzus poked the re­bound into the net.

Both teams had a fair num­ber of play­ers in the lineup who will be in uni­form on open­ing night — Oct. 8 at Detroit for the Ducks and Oct. 9 at Van­cou­ver for the Kings.

An­drei Lok­tionov, vy­ing for a spot on the Kings’ fourth line, took a pass-out from Smyth and ri­fled it past McEl­hin­ney at 8:41of the third for his first pre­sea­son goal. Kyle Clif­ford, also in the mix for the fourth line, scored 19 sec­onds later, redi­rect­ing Sim­monds’ pass. Dan Sex­ton and Marchant scored for the Ducks in the last three min­utes.

“It’s pre­sea­son,” Ko­pi­tar said. “It’s one of those things when the ball starts rolling it’s hard to stop, es­pe­cially with the lineup we had. But it’s good for us. We’ll take it. We did a lot of good stuff.”

Jeff Gross

DISH­ING IT OUT: Jack John­son, right, checks the Ducks’ Ja­son Blake in first pe­riod of Kings’ 8-3 win.

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