Adrian Kempe had a really good game in Los Angeles last night, scoring three goals and assisting another one. The Kings won 5-3 against the Anaheim Ducks, meaning they will finish third in the Pacific Division. Meanwhile, the Ducks ended up with the worst record in the entire NHL which means they’ll have better chances of getting a top drafted player during the draft lottery.
Captain Anze Kopitar scored first and this made him the highest scorer for Los Angeles in 15 out of the last 16 seasons. Later, Kempe and Trevor Moore scored one after another only 49 seconds apart during the 159th Freeway Faceoff match.
Kempe scored his fourth goal of the game which was an empty-netter, and lots of Kings fans threw things on the ice to celebrate. About 40 minutes after that, the Kings knew they would have to face Edmonton in their first round, again like last season.
The Kings had been struggling with a 2-5-0 losing streak, but were able to win their last two games. These 104 points were the second most points for the franchise since 1974-75, where 105 points were scored.
“Mikey Anderson, a Kings defenseman said that it’s great to have a lot of confidence and motivation going into the playoffs. We found some new ways to score goals and we played some physical games, which was good for our team.”
Troy Terry, Max Jones and Trevor Zegras all scored goals for the Ducks, who had a really bad NHL season and ended it with a 13-game losing streak. Coach Dallas Eakins contract was up after four seasons of not winning any games and the Ducks have not said if he will stay on or not yet.
Eakins said he was proud of the team’s hard effort even though it was their last game outcome. He thought they showed that they still cared about their rivalry with the Kings and kept fighting until the end.
Anaheim’s bad record in the NHL this season with 58 points is actually a good thing – it gives them the best chance to win the right to pick Connor Bedard in next month’s hockey draft lottery. He is seen as one of the most amazing prospects since Connor McDavid.
The Anaheim Ducks have a decent chance (25.5%) of getting the top pick in the NHL draft this season. The worst they can do is finish third, which will still give them an awesome player from the group of forwards Bedard, Fantilli and Michkov.
Also, Joonas Korpisalo played for the Kings and made 21 saves while John Gibson (from Anaheim) had 31 saves.
Cam Fowler, a Ducks defenseman, said that it was hard to lose the game like that. Everyone who was playing in that game wanted to win, but he’s still proud of how everyone kept together and did not give up on each other.
The Anaheim Ducks have not made the playoffs for five seasons in a row, which is the worst streak ever for them since they had never missed more than three postseasons. This past season was terrible for them because they ranked last (31st out of 31 teams) in both goals scored and goal differential and also allowed the most goals throughout the entirety of the NHL.
The Ducks were not very good at defending this season, and they gave up the most goals of any NHL team in the last 26 years. This was worse than even the Atlanta Thrashers from 1999-2000, who allowed 143 more goals than they scored.
At the beginning of the game, Terry from the Ducks scored a goal only 2 minutes and 44 seconds into the game. But Los Angeles evened it out near the end of the first period with Kopitar scoring his 28th goal this season. In the second half, Kempe was given a delayed goal after taking video review into consideration. A few moments later, Moore had a successful rush and achieved another goal for their team.
Zegras scored his 23rd goal with 5:09 minutes left, bringing the game closer by making Los Angeles’s lead only 4-3. After a fight, Kempe ended up winning the match.
Kevin Fiala hasn’t played for the Kings for the past six games because of an injury to his lower body. We still don’t know if he’ll be able to play in the playoffs, but Kopitar used this last game to win over Fiala on top of being both teams’ top scorer.
Alexander Edler and Gabe Vilardi were both unable to play in the Los Angeles lineup due to their injuries. Mason McTavish had an upper-body injury and scored a total of 43 points during 80 games this season. The Kings will go up against Edmonton in the first round of playoffs, while the Ducks are hoping for one special player at the draft lottery on May 8th.