Playoff style hockey returned to the Great Western Forum Monday night and the Kings can thank Ray Ferraro for making sure that they went home with a victory.
Before a sellout crowd of 16,005, Ferraro helped the Kings tie the score in regulation with a third-period goal and then ended the game with another goal 2:04 into overtime as the Kings defeated the Mighty Ducks, 3-2.
"I don't remember when the last time was, but to score [the winning goal] in overtime is always fun," Ferraro said. "We were dead in the water after two periods. We started fine but we were horrible in the second period.
"The Ducks bottled us up and we got to the point of frustration. Everybody was trying to turn the game themselves. As soon as that happens, you're sunk. But, we came back [in the dressing room following the second period] and we regrouped and came out [strong]."
The Kings spotted Anaheim two second-period goals and then scored twice in the final 10 minutes of regulation on goals by Ferraro and Yanic Perreault.
Ferraro, who has spent most of the season rehabilitating an injured knee, skated in with the puck and beat Anaheim goaltender Guy Hebert from the top of the crease for his fourth goal of the season.
The Ducks, who were determined not to rely on their speed transition game with Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne, appeared to have the game in hand until the Kings mounted their late comeback.
After a scoreless first period, Mark Janssens and Kariya scored for the Ducks, who held the Kings without a goal despite playing half the period short-handed.
King goaltender Stephane Fiset had to make only 18 saves as he helped keep his team close until the third period.
For the Kings, who ended a three-game winless streak, the victory was significant because it kept them in sixth place in the Western Conference, ahead of Chicago, which defeated Vancouver Monday.
The Kings now lead the Ducks by six points. Anaheim fell out of playoff position because the Edmonton Oilers won and moved into eighth place.
"You pay attention [to the standings] but you don't worry about it," King Coach Larry Robinson said about his team's position in the conference. "You can only worry about things that you have control over and you only can control what you do.
"But you do certainly watch the standings because you can get motivation from that. When other teams are playing well, you have to realize that it makes the games you are playing [twice] as important."
In the first of five matchups between the two Southern California teams this season, the quality of play may not have been too high but the intensity was there from the opening face off.
The Kings launched four shots on goal in the first three minutes of the game as they aggressively attacked the Ducks every chance they had. Anaheim, however, was able to withstand the early rush and slowly the momentum switched over to the Ducks, who won three of five games against the Kings last season.
The Kings had to kill off three short-handed situations in the period and only a couple of nice saves by Fiset, who kept the game scoreless as the Ducks outshot the Kings, 10-6, in the first 20 minutes.
Anaheim began the second period on a power play with King defenseman Rob Blake completing a minor cross-checking penalty. The Ducks failed to score on that man-advantage but they did manage an even-strength goal at 4:07.
Janssens' fifth goal came off a shot from inside the left side of the blue line that was partially blocked by Fiset but the puck slid between his legs and into the net to give Anaheim a 1-0 lead.
The Kings immediately tried to tie the score but some poor decisions in their own zone led to the Ducks' second goal. After overplaying the puck at mid-ice, the Kings were caught out of position when Selanne beat King defenseman Sean O'Donnell to the puck by the left circle and passed to Kariya, who scored from the right circle at 7:14.
It was Kariya's ninth goal in 15 games since his return to the lineup and Selanne's 500th NHL point.
Over the final 12:14 of the period, the Kings were on the power play for 10 thanks to double-minor high sticking penalties on Scott Young and Kariya, and a slashing minor on David Karpa.
The Kings managed only six shots during the stretch and had a goal scored by Aki Berg disallowed because Ferraro was ruled in the crease at 8:24.
In the third period, Ferraro brought the Kings to life with a goal at 9:36, which was his 700th career point.
The Kings then tied the game with a goal by Perreault, his 10th third period goal of the season, at 17:53 setting up Ferraro's dramatic finish.