ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) One game into this annual rivalry series, the Freeway Faceoff is already rolling at top speed.
Nick Shore scored on a pass from Dustin Brown with 1:09 left on the clock in overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings rallied from a two-goal deficit for a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night.
The Southern California clubs’ first meeting contained enough big goals, nasty hits and general grit to fill an entire season in most rivalries. And when the Kings punctuated their outstanding start to 2017-18 with an impressive comeback, they set the tone for the rest of the matchups between these unfriendly neighbors.
”It was a really good atmosphere tonight,” Shore said of the bipartisan Honda Center crowd. ”It was an emotional game for both sides. That’s what you look for and tend to see when it’s a division game like this.”
Brown also scored the tying goal early in the third period for the Pacific Division-leading Kings, who are 11-2-2 after beating the five-time defending division champion Ducks. The clubs played their usual bad-tempered game filled with big hits of questionable legality and several ensuing scrums.
Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe scored for the Kings, and rookie Alex Iafallo had two assists. Jonathan Quick made 33 saves after an early scrap with Ducks forward Corey Perry, and wrapped up his night with an assist on Shore’s game-winner.
”There’s really no quit in here,” said Kopitar, who got his team-leading eighth goal. ”We get down two goals early, but it seemed like there was a sense of calmness on the bench. Nobody panicked. Nobody was running around like a maniac. We just kept our cool, kept our composure and started plugging away.”
Rickard Rakell had a goal and an assist for the injury-plagued Ducks, who lost their fourth straight and finished the night with two more players under observation for possible concussions. Anaheim still was pleased with its resilience in a difficult matchup.
”They’re always for men, these games against LA,” Ducks assistant coach Trent Yawney said. ”You’re always going to fight for every inch of the ice. We had big goals, big momentum shifts, and I was proud of our guys.”
Jared Boll ended a 61-game goal drought and Sami Vatanen scored his first of the season for the Ducks in their first game since captain Ryan Getzlaf had surgery on a broken cheekbone, sidelining him for up to two months.
John Gibson made 30 saves for Anaheim before his mask was knocked off by a blow to the head, forcing backup Ryan Miller into the game with 6:53 left in regulation. Miller made nine saves, including a point-saving stop on Tyler Toffoli with 90 seconds left in regulation.
Kings defenseman Kurtis MacDermid was given a game misconduct for the worst hit, an open-ice shot that sent Ducks forward Ondrej Kase to the dressing room in the first period with an upper-body injury. Los Angeles coach John Stevens thought the hit was hard, but legal.
Rakell popped the water bottle off Quick’s net with a goal that ramped off Iafallo’s stick in the second period to make it 3-1.
But Kempe got his seventh goal in 10 games before Brown evened it with 14:11 left in regulation, converting Iafallo’s setup for the revitalized former Los Angeles captain’s seventh goal of the season.
Brown appeared to put the Kings ahead five minutes later after converting a beautiful backward pass from Drew Doughty, but the goal was wiped out when video review determined Doughty had been offside. Los Angeles had yet another goal waved off moments later when Gibson’s helmet came off during play, forcing the goalie into the dressing room.
NOTES: Boll opened the scoring by converting a rebound of Brandon Montour’s shot for his first goal in 59 games with the Ducks over two seasons. The goal was just the 28th of the hard-nosed enforcer’s NHL career, and his first since March 20, 2016, with Columbus. … The Ducks scratched D Jaycob Megna with Francois Beauchemin returning from a one-game absence. … Los Angeles swapped Swedish defensemen in its lineup again, scratching Christian Folin and dressing Oscar Fantenberg.
Kings: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.
Ducks: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.
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