Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)
Move over, Getzlaf and Perry, the Kings have their own set of “twins.”
In this weekend’s only interdivisional matchup, the Kings beat the Ducks 4-2 Saturday night in a game that crunched the top four teams in the division into a mere three-point spread.
It was a breakout game for Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, acquired by the Kings in trades during the offseason and trade deadline season, respectively.
Like Perry and Getzlaf, they were drafted together by Philadelphia, cultivated as prospects and signed lengthy deals at similar terms.
Now, they have taken their act to Los Angeles where Carter scored his first two goals as a King Saturday and Richards matched his output from the previous seven games in one night with three assists.
“I think Carter had four or five really good ones and scored on two. I think it was one of those games where Richards, Carter, Getzlaf, and Perry were all highlight guys,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said.
Despite not scoring in his first three games as a King, Carter’s arrival and captain Dustin Brown’s scoring tear have lifted the Kings’ offense. Brown added a goal Saturday, boosting him to eight points in four games since Carter’s arrival.
In those four games, Los Angeles has gone 3-1-0, scoring 13 times including four goals in each of their wins. That has been a welcome sight for the league’s lowest scoring team over the course of this season.
“Obviously I knew the situation the team here was in when I came in. It’s a battle right now every game,” Carter said.
“The goals lifted a little weight off the shoulders; it’s always nice when that first one goes in. You feel a lot better about your game. Hopefully it’s the start of a nice little run here.”
The loss further quelled the Ducks’ momentum. Anaheim has lost three of four and still is seven points from completing an unprecedented ascent into the eighth playoff spot after being 20 points out following a Jan. 4 loss.
“The odds haven’t been in our favor since Christmas. There is no doubt in here that we can still make this thing happen,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said.
Neither Getzlaf nor head coach Bruce Boudreau hid their disappointment with Saturday’s effort. Boudreau also blasted the officiating.
Special teams were a glaring weakness as the Ducks failed to convert on four power-play opportunities while surrendering two power-play goals on four chances for the Kings.
“Our special teams were horrible. We can’t kill a penalty and we can’t score a goal on the power play,” Boudreau said. “That being said, they were some of the worst calls that I’ve seen in a long time.”
As the Ducks and Coyotes cool down a bit, the Kings and Stars have each surged. Dallas has six wins in the midst of a seven-game point streak.
Still, the playoff picture changes daily.
Just as the top four spots in the Pacific are separated by three points, so are the four teams vying for the eighth seed in the West (San Jose, Los Angeles, Colorado and Calgary). The Stars stand just two points ahead of the eighth-seeded Sharks while sitting in a points tie with third-seeded Phoenix.
Pacific Division Notes
The Stars won the first two legs of their Western Canada trip; they will complete the three-game swing Tuesday at Vancouver before hosting Anaheim and San Jose … After a 2-9 road trip, the Sharks have gone 1-2 on this home stand, managing a meager two goals in the three home games … San Jose’s Logan Couture returned to action after missing two games with a lower-body injury … The Ducks’ Lubomir Visnovsky has not scored in 11 games. As a team that Ducks have not crossed the three-goal threshold in any of those 11 contests … After a storybook February, March has been a cautionary tale for the Coyotes. They have dropped back-to-back games to non-playoff teams, allowing an uncharacteristic nine goals in the two losses.