Kings center Mike Richards takes a shot during the first period of the Kings'… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
This had all the early intensity of the Kings at Columbus on a winter night deep into the season. Or, say, the passion of the Ducks against the Islanders.
For the first 40 minutes, anyhow.
None of those stylistic issues will matter, naturally, when the Kings look back at a 2-1 shootout victory Wednesday night against their Southern California rivals, the Ducks, at Staples Center.
The switch was flipped from yawn to awake to high alert by the time the teams hit the third period. And it took a shootout to determine the outcome, with seven tense rounds needed to decide it.
In round seven, Justin Williams put the Kings ahead with a wrist shot. That left it up to Ducks defenseman Kurtis Foster, who could not get one past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.
Missing in the first round was Anze Kopitar for the Kings, and Bobby Ryan for the Ducks. The Kings' Mike Richards could not covert in the second round, nor could the Ducks' Teemu Selanne.
Finally, the Kings' Jarret Stoll scored, but the Ducks' Ryan Getzlaf immediately responded in the third round. And it marched on and on until Williams beat Jonas Hiller, who had a stellar game in regulation and overtime, facing 37 shots.
"It was a huge goal for him to get us those two points. It was an unfortunate on the penalty," Kings Coach Terry Murray said of Williams, whose tripping penalty led to a power-play goal for the Ducks. "He was just doing the things that he has to do to recover the puck."
The lone Kings shot to get past Hiller in regulation came when Richards scored on a five-on-three power play in the second period, taking advantage of a wild bounce off the end boards when defenseman Jack Johnson sent a shot wide left.
For the Kings, the power play has been a remarkably consistent asset. They have scored a power-play goal in five straight games.
"We wanted to get the puck to the net as much as possible tonight," Richards said in a postgame TV interview. "We just knew if we kept on shooting the puck we'd get a good bounce."
It took the Ducks until late in the third period to tie the score. Selanne scored a power-play goal from the middle of the left circle with 3:25 remaining. It was his sixth goal of the season.
The way things have gone for the Kings the last few weeks, wins are precious commodities, meant to be virtual building blocks for the future. They have won back-to-back games, putting together a streak for the first time since they won four straight games in October, three of them by shutout.
The Ducks didn't bother to become overly engaged until the final 20 minutes or so. They failed to mount much of a sustained attack, seemingly forgot how to forecheck and let Hiller take the shooting-gallery abuse.
They mustered a mere five shots on goal in the first period and Kopitar nearly had that many by himself in the opening 20 minutes. One of those was a blast from the left circle glancing off Hiller's famous "Movember" inspired mask.
The Ducks thought they had scored the tying goal early in the third period, from Getzlaf, but the call of no-goal on the ice stood up upon review.
The Kings avoided a grievance hearing with the Edmonton Oilers when they reached a settlement in the Colin Fraser matter. The hearing had been scheduled for Wednesday. TSN's Bob McKenzie reported that the Oilers provided "a small cash outlay" to cover some of the medical costs associated with Fraser's injured ankle. Two Kings officials declined to confirm the settlement specifics, saying the details of the agreement were confidential.