Kings defenseman Drew Doughty is congratulated as he arrives at the bench… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty was limited to one goal in his first 37 games. In the last five games, he has put the puck in the net four times.
His offensive resurgence started with an empty-net goal April 6 against Edmonton and continued Saturday night with a first-period goal in the Kings' 2-1 victory over the Ducks.
"I think it did maybe help my confidence a little bit," Doughty said of the easy Edmonton chance. "I've been scoring a lot lately. A lot of times, it's the," puck "bouncing, going the right way."
The streak also coincided with a demotion from Kings Coach Darryl Sutter.
Sutter took Doughty off the first unit of the power play for a while. "He wanted to show me that you have to earn the right to be out there.
"He finally gave me the opportunity on the first unit again in Anaheim … and I scored. Since then, our power play has been really good. And I've been working my hardest to make it better every time I'm out there."
Was the punishment hard to take?
"Oh yeah. I was definitely frustrated," he said. "But I didn't have a goal and I wasn't scoring, I wasn't putting up points on the power play. It wasn't like I wasn't doing the right things. If you're not clicking with the other guys at that time, it's the right thing to do. I was frustrated but I didn't ever get down on myself or anything like that."
Doughty assisted on Mike Richards' winning goal Saturday.
"He's a great player, up for the Norris Trophy," Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "That first goal went off of two legs. Things like that go in when you're feeling it."
Richards put a precise power-play shot past Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth with 58.2 seconds left in the second period, and Kings goalie Jonathan Quick needed just 19 saves to preserve the victory before a sold-out Staples Center crowd.
The teams have split their four games, each winning twice at home.
Fasth said giving up the deciding goal on only the Kings' third shot of the period was regretful.
"For a goalie, it's tough to get into the game when they're not shooting," Fasth said. "It hit my [stick] nob and went upstairs. I didn't see much when he shot it.
"It felt like both of the teams were more focused on their defense."
The Ducks have now dropped two consecutive games for just the third time this season and they've scored only four goals in their last three games, a troubling trend for a team that once led the NHL in goals per game.
"We played as hard as we could, had some good chances, but we're not scoring goals," Boudreau said. "What was our strength is now a weakness. We had great chances. Maybe we are pressing or not working hard enough to finish.
"You have to make hay when the sun shines."
With his team's lead over the Kings in the Pacific Division down to seven points before the Ducks' next game Wednesday against visiting Columbus, Boudreau said, "We've got to get back to winning. It's not like everything is hunky-dory. We have to be playing our best hockey by the time the playoffs start. All of a sudden, our sense of urgency has to pick up."
Scare and regret
Ducks center Andrew Cogliano was forced to the dressing room after colliding with Kings captain Dustin Brown and hurting his right leg late in the first period Saturday.
Cogliano, an iron man who played in his 452nd consecutive game Saturday and had his two front teeth knocked out earlier this season, returned to play in the second period.
"Knee-to-knee hit, I got lucky," Cogliano said.
In a dramatic second-period sequence, Cogliano slipped as he skated toward Quick behind the Kings' net. Cogliano got up, found the puck and confronted a one-on-one with Quick in what was a 1-1 game.
"I thought I had him, but it hit the top of his glove instead of going in," Cogliano said. "We needed that."
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, who turned a blocked shot into a highlight-reel, down-the-ice sprint to beat Quick on the first short-handed goal against the defending Stanley Cup champions this season, said Saturday's game was decided by "a bounce here or there."
Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler missed Saturday's game because of the upper-body injury he suffered in Wednesday's loss to Colorado, and Boudreau said Fowler's status will be reevaluated by Wednesday's game.
Anaheim defenseman Bryan Allen was hit in the face with 12:29 left in the game and left the ice.
Individual tickets for the Ducks' first-round playoff series, likely to begin at Honda Center on April 30, will go on sale at noon Monday.
Tickets start at $27 and can be purchased at anaheimducks.com, through Ticketmaster at (714) 703-2545 and at the Honda Center box office.
Times staff writer Lisa Dillman contributed to this report.