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HELENE ELLIOTT

Kings make it a great eight in a row, beat Ducks, 6-4

They blow three-goal lead to rivals but recover to tie club-record winning streak. Brown, Simmonds and Johnson each score for the Kings.

February 05, 2010|Helene Elliott

The Kings were in the hunt for high-scoring winger Ilya Kovalchuk until almost the last minute, intrigued by what he could do for their power play but adamant that they wouldn't give up Dustin Brown, Wayne Simmonds and Jack Johnson -- or any two of that trio -- for a player who could walk away July 1.

General Manager Dean Lombardi decided he would do better to look for a support player later and not tear his team apart to get Kovalchuk, and it was difficult to debate his choice Thursday.

Brown, Simmonds and Johnson each scored a goal and Anze Kopitar had two goals and two assists in a wild 6-4 victory over the Ducks at Staples Center that gave the Kings a club-record-tying eighth consecutive victory and occupancy of fourth place in the Western Conference.

Johnson had the first four-point game of his career and Kopitar extended his point streak to eight games as the Kings ended the Ducks' three-game winning streak and left their rivals three points out of a playoff spot.

"I don't think anyone thought anyone's leaving this room," Johnson said. "We got a good team in here. We like our locker room."

The Kings built a 4-1 lead that the Ducks erased in the third period on goals by Troy Bodie at 3:11, Matt Beleskey at 5:12 and Ryan Carter at 9:35. But Brown converted the rebound of a save Jonas Hiller had made on Kopitar at 14:28, and Kopitar added a power-play goal for insurance at 19:33.

"It was an intense game. We knew that was going to be the case," Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer said. "Every game we need the points. . . . Our playoffs have begun, so it's disappointing we let it slip away. We had an opportunity tonight."

The Kings had an opportunity to get Kovalchuk, but their bid was rejected in favor of the Devils' package of defenseman John Oduya, forward Niclas Bergfors, prospect Patrice Cormier and a first-round draft pick in June. Still, they didn't lack goal scoring Thursday in matching the eight-game win streaks assembled by the 1972-73 Kings and repeated by the 1991-92 team.

"You can't win hockey games when you give up six goals," Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said.

Jonathan Quick set a club record by winning his eighth straight game, breaking the mark of seven set by Kelly Hrudey in 1991-92 and repeated by Robb Stauber in 1992-93.

"It's not our job who gets traded or to worry about who gets traded," Kings defenseman Matt Greene said. "All we can do is prove our point on the ice."

That they did.

After the requisite fight between the Ducks' George Parros and the Kings' Raitis Ivanans took place at 1:50 of the first period the teams settled into a physical and lively rhythm.

The Ducks scored at 5:40 on Jason Blake's first goal in an Anaheim uniform, a short wrist shot, but the Kings' aggressive forecheck produced the tying goal. The Kings pressured Niedermayer into turning the puck over behind his net and Brad Richardson and Simmonds swiped at it before Kopitar rifled home a wrist shot at 18:54.

The Kings went ahead 1:04 into the second period, taking advantage of a delayed penalty pending against Ducks defenseman Ryan Whitney to get Quick off the ice and deploy Smyth as the extra forward. Rob Scuderi kept the puck in the zone and passed to Smyth, who found Kopitar deep in the left-wing corner. He, in turn, passed to Simmonds, whose shot from the hash marks set off a frenzy from the announced sellout crowd.

The Kings extended their lead to 3-1 after Ducks defenseman Steve Eminger took a bad tripping penalty at 15:15, scoring when Michal Handzus deflected a shot by Alexander Frolov. Johnson made it 4-1 at 1:44 of the third on a one-timer from the left side, set up on a fine pass by Frolov, but the desperate Ducks inched back into the game.

It was yet another lesson for the Kings, who have been model students while absorbing a lot of new material. "We made it a little more interesting than we would have liked to at the end," Johnson said.

The most interesting part is that they will have a chance to stay together and see what they can do, which could be a lot.

helene.elliott@latimes.com

twitter.com/helenenothelen

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