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Kings use extra time to advantage

Last-place L.A. beats division-leading Ducks on a Cammalleri goal in overtime for a 4-3 win.

March 02, 2007|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

The Kings find themselves smack-dab in the middle of the Stanley Cup playoff race in March.

OK, so it is some else's playoff race. The Ducks, though, found it to be a rude party crashing.

The Kings, last in the Western Conference, seemed to fit nicely in with the elite Thursday. They spotted the Ducks a two-goal lead, then finished in a flurry when Michael Cammalleri zipped in a one-timer for a 4-3 overtime victory in front of an announced crowd of 17,620 at Staples Center.

The victory was the Kings' third in four games over one of the top five teams in the Western Conference, two of which have been against the Ducks.

"These are our playoff games," said Dustin Brown, who had two assists. "We've been playing better hockey and winning games against the Ducks, and Nashville is good for our system."

It may cause the Ducks a little indigestion. This was something the Ducks didn't need before playing the San Jose Sharks tonight and the Nashville Predators on Sunday, the beginning of an eight-game homestand. They are trying to hold off the Sharks in the Pacific Division and trying to catch the Predators, who lead the Western Conference.

But Ducks turnovers and penalties left the game on Cammalleri's stick, as he buried a pass from Lubomir Visnovsky 3 minutes and 17 seconds into overtime.

"I don't look at the individuals, I look at team mind-set," said Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle, who was visibly upset.

"That's the thing that's bothering me. We didn't play with the necessary urgency that the situation asked for."

The Kings did. The Ducks had power-play goals from Dustin Penner and Scott Niedermayer, and an even-strength won by Andy McDonald, to take a 3-1 lead five minutes into the third period. The Kings controlled much of the game from then on, sparked by a goal from enforcer Raitis Ivanans.

"You have to play hard against them every minute or you are not going to look very good," Cammalleri said. "The Ducks are one of the best teams in the league and they play with a lot of intensity."

That feeling seemed to be filtered upstairs to upper management, the fallout from a trade deadline deal that never materialized.

The Ducks, who watched other conference powers strengthen their lineups, tried to acquire the Kings' Mattias Norstrom, who was sent to the Dallas Stars instead.

Ducks General Manager Brian Burke seemed to chafe at being shut out on the deal, saying Tuesday that he didn't think Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi "ever intended to deal with us."

Burke followed Thursday by saying he offered the Kings first-, second- and third-round picks for Norstrom.

Lombardi chuckled at the suggestion that he blackballed the Ducks.

"Absolutely not," Lombardi said. "We had two bona fide offers and we took the best one.

"It's not like we traded Matty to Dallas for a fifth-round pick. We looked at the two offers on the table. Did Anaheim step up? Absolutely. The difference maker was Dallas offered a first-round pick in 2008."

Burke, who said he would not part with his young players, was left with only forward Brad May to show for three weeks of trade talks. May, who missed much of the season after reconstructive shoulder surgery, left with a lower body injury after playing 2:18 Thursday and Burke seemed to back off his earlier comments.

"Initially, I don't believe he intended to deal with us. I don't think he strung me along," Burke said Thursday. "And I'm not sure I'd deal with them.... There's no finger-pointing. I was just making a statement of fact. I don't believe it was in the cards.

"Dean and I have been friends for 20 years. I chatted with him. I think what he did was get us to make an offer and then went and made a better deal. That's just good GM-ing."

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