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NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

Kings first-round pick nets two in victory against Ducks

Brayden Schenn, the fifth overall pick in June, helps the Kings beat Anaheim, which was playing its fourth game in four nights.

September 20, 2009|Helene Elliott and Mark Medina

Brayden Schenn, the Kings' first-round pick and fifth overall in the June draft, set a modest goal for his first NHL training camp.

"I'm just trying to get better every day," he said.

He's improving almost by the minute, scoring twice Saturday to lead the Kings to a 4-1 exhibition victory against the Ducks at Staples Center.

Jonathan Bernier stopped 19 shots for the Kings (2-1-1), who also got a goal from winger Ryan Smyth and an empty-net goal from Anze Kopitar.

Jonas Hiller stopped 22 shots for the Ducks (2-2-0), whose only goal was from Saku Koivu on the power play late in the second period.

The Ducks' woes could be attributed to playing their fourth game in four nights, the absence of Ryan Getzlaf, who is still recovering from hernia surgery, or a lineup far from what it will be on opening night. Koivu is still getting acclimated to his new surroundings. Soon, though, excuses won't wash.

"We couldn't make a tape-to-tape pass. We didn't really get involved emotionally in the hockey game," said Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle.

Involvement wasn't a problem for Schenn, 18. He has two years of junior eligibility remaining and likely will be back with Brandon of the Western Hockey League when the NHL season begins, because too many experienced centers are ahead of him on the Kings' depth chart.

But he's elevating the competition as training camp enters its second week and the time approaches to make major roster cuts, even if he isn't daring to dream big.

"When you start thinking ahead, things start going wrong," he said. "Just one day at a time, that's what my focus is. Every day you've got to get used to the pace and tempo of the game."

He's adjusting nicely.

"He looks good. Plays with a ton of poise, a lot of compete," said defenseman Matt Greene. "You see a lot of guys come up, young guys, and kind of fade as camp goes on, but he's just getting stronger and stronger."

Schenn's second-effort goal gave the Kings the lead at 4:10 of the first period.

Smyth made it 2-0 at 10:36 of the second period when he carried the puck deep into the zone for a close-range shot that eluded Hiller for his first goal in a Kings uniform.

After a turnover by the Ducks, Schenn took a cross-ice pass from defenseman Thomas Hickey on a three-on-one and scored on a wrist shot from the left side at 15:32.

The Ducks broke through at 19:28 of the second period. Corey Perry faked a shot and passed to Teemu Selanne in deep on the left side.

He threw the puck in front, where it bounced around and came out.

Koivu had to reach for it but managed to get off a backhander that Bernier missed, his first in two exhibition games.

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helene.elliott@latimes.com

mark.medina@latimes.com

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