The Los Angeles Kings got a big goal from Ryan Smyth and lead the Anaheim Ducks 1-0 after one period of their Freeway Face-off at Honda Center. The Ducks need a victory to clinch a post-season berth, while the Kings have already clinched their slot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Kings need a win to stay and fourth place and continue their pursuit of home ice in the playoffs. They especially could use a win now that Nashville has won, taking over fourth seed.
Smyth's goal came on a turn-over by Toni Lydman, who lost the puck to Jarret Stoll. Stoll threw a pass in front to Dustin Brown, who shot it, and goaltender Dan Ellis (playing for the injured Ray Emery and the not 100% Jonas Hiller) lost control of the rebound, when Smyth deposited it in at 11:22. It was Smyth's 22nd of the season, though only his third goal in 31 games.
Ellis played well the rest of the period. He made a fantastic glove save on Wayne Simmonds towards the end of the frame that seemed almost a sure thing, keeping it at 1-0 for now. Letting the Kings get up by two goals would be almost certain doom the way that Los Angeles stifles on defense. This is Ellis' first start since March 20th against Calgary. He made six saves in the first.
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick needed to be good in the first period, as the Ducks got the game's only power play, when Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty went off for holding at 7:27. Teemu Selanne had a couple of excellent chances during the man advantage, but was denied twice by Quick. In a bit of a quirky circumstance, the Finnish Flash broke his stick twice in the same power play. Selanne appeared a man possessed in the first, coming close a number of times to either getting or setting up a tying goal. He made eight saves in the first period.
The Ducks are not currently getting help from the scoreboard, as the Dallas Stars - whose loss of a point would clinch a playoff spot for Anaheim - are leading the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 after two periods. A win would get the Ducks in on their own accord, but so far, things have not gone their way. Despite controlling much of the play and chances, the Kings got the first goal and have played very well defensively.