In a tit-for-tat match between the Anaheim Ducks and L.A. Kings, it took a shootout to decide a victor in the fourth installment of the Freeway Faceoff matchup. The Kings went up 3-1 in the season series after a 3-2 shootout victory, giving new head coach Darryl Sutter his first win in his first game behind the L.A. bench.
Both teams started off dully with rather chippy play. The Kings seemed to have the early slight advantage in offense -- not necessarily in shots, but in zone time. The Ducks, however, earned a few opportunities to score, and their efforts resulted in a Niklas Hagman tip-in off of a Lubomir Visnovsky shot from the point. However, the goal only seemed to have given the Kings new life, when less than three minutes later, Mike Richards, who played his first game since Dec. 1 after suffering a head injury, scored on his own tip-in goal.
L.A. usurped the lead when Anze Kopitar fed Dustin Brown a nifty pass to rip a knuckling wrister past the Ducks' defense and Jonas Hiller. Anaheim returned the favor, though, via Visnovsky's wrist shot due to an L.A. turnover in their own zone.
Brown notched the game-winner for the Kings in the shootout, giving L.A. its first string of wins together since the end of November and the first game of December. While Sutter has the win under his belt, it was a close call against the 29th place Ducks. Still, patience will be required with the Kings. Sutter will reward players who work hard, which the Kings are hoping will push them to perform better, especially with the first win.