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Kings Continue Mastery of Ducks

Top line produces two goals in 4-2 victory, extending L.A.'s unbeaten streak over rival to seven games.

October 17, 2002|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

The more things change, the more they remained the same Wednesday night.

The Kings dropped by the Arrowhead Pond and went home with two points, after a 4-2 victory over the Mighty Ducks. Goalie Jamie Storr continued to stymie the Ducks, flip-flopping to make saves. Jason Allison scored the game-winning goal 6 minutes 26 seconds into the third period.

And the Ducks played the straight-man role before an announced crowd of 11,332, the smallest to ever see a King-Duck game at the Arrowhead Pond.

The majority went home happy from what seemed like a Staple Center annex, having seen the Kings run their unbeaten streak against the Ducks to seven games (5-0-2).

About the only thing that deviated from that tried and true script was the Kings' Bryan Smolinski scoring a goal while the opposing goalie was on the ice.

"There are 79 games to go and we're not going to feel comfortable as a team until March or April, when our playoff position is secure," King Coach Andy Murray said. "I'm not going to let anyone get comfortable until then."

At 3-0, though, the Kings seem to be on track. They certainly don't have to feel as troubled as their opponent.

The Ducks spent the summer wheeling and dealing, trying to juice up the second-worst offense in the NHL. The Kings, meanwhile, more or less stood pat.

Of course, none of it seemed to matter Wednesday.

"They just outworked us for 60 minutes," Duck captain Paul Kariya said.

Storr extended his unbeaten streak against the Ducks to four games (3-0-1). Smolinski scored his first regular-season goal with a goalie in the crease since Jan. 5. The Kings' top line, minus Ziggy Palffy, produced one goal each by Adam Deadmarsh and Allison.

"We have a pretty talented team here," said Storr, who stopped 31 of 33 shots. "We have four lines and six defensemen who all do their job. We were without Ziggy tonight and scored four goals. What does that say?"

For starters, it demonstrated how often the Ducks left goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere dangling.

The Ducks had just tied the score, 2-2, five minutes into the third period. Their euphoria lasted less than two minutes. The Kings caught the Ducks on a line change. Jaroslav Modry found a wide-open Allison charging down the slot. Allison, uncontested, lined up a shot and Giguere never stood a chance.

"We expected our players to go hard every night," Murray said. "That's the only thing we are concerned about."

The Ducks' list of concerns could fill a notebook. They were scoreless in seven power plays, making them one for their last 15. Their defense left Giguere to fend for himself. And their situation worsened slightly.

The Ducks spent freely on such free agents as Adam Oates and Fredrik Olausson. Yet their best offensive work came from their fourth line. Defenseman Keith Carney fired a shot that Dan Bylsma, locked in a battle with defenseman Mathieu Schneider, deflected past Storr.

The Ducks knew going in that they needed to play sharp the first month of the season or risk another early playoff elimination, and the situation already appears critical.

"There is no question that we need some points," center Matt Cullen said. "These are teams we need to beat, teams that we have to compete against for a playoff spot. I know it's early, but these next few games are very important for us."

Giguere played with that urgency. He was brilliant at times, stopping three breakaways, two by Smolinski and one by Deadmarsh. He also saved a handful of uncontested shots.

Deadmarsh, alone, scored on a wrist shot from an angle to give the Kings a 2-1 lead four minutes into the third period.

"You create your own luck," Giguere said. "Sometimes, when you're unlucky, you're not working hard enough.

"When you're in a zone, you just seem to get the bounces. Everything is right. If you're not, every bounce seems to go against you."

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