Hockey / Sports

Anaheim Ducks' Patrick Maroon celebrates a goal in the first period against Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, right. The Kings faced the Ducks in Game 2 of the NHL Western Conference semifinals at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., on Monday, May 5, 2014. (Foster Snell/Orange County Register/MCT)

Kings strike again, take 2-0 series lead over Ducks

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- No last-second dramatics were needed by the Kings this time. The tried-and-true, no-thrills formula worked just fine.

Defense and goaltending. It is how the Kings really win playoff series and they moved halfway to capturing another by defeating the Ducks, 3-1, on Monday night at Honda Center to grab a sizable 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

The first period was the decisive one this time and Kings defenseman Alec Martinez, coming off his stellar Game 1, provided the difference at the 12:07 mark. Martinez ripped a slap shot that kicked off the Ducks' Jakob Silfverberg and sailed past goalie Jonas Hiller.

And that was all they needed. The Ducks largely carried the play for the second straight game but the Kings went content to keeping the front of the net clear for goalie Jonathan Quick, who saw virtually every shot and made 36 saves.

"We found a way to squeak one out because we have the best goalie in the world," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "They had the better chances, more opportunities, but we found a way to win the game."

Dwight King added an empty-net goal with 58 seconds left and the Kings, who've won seven playoff series in the last three years, have the potential of closing the series out at home. Game 3 is Thursday at Staples Center.

"We're not taking anything off the gas pedal," said the Kings' Drew Doughty, who led a stout defensive effort. "Trust me, everyone in here knows how hard it is to win playoff games. Out mentality is, this is Game 1 again."

Already holding the series lead, the Kings were pushing the Ducks further downhill with nary a minute elapsing from the clock. Game 1 hero Marian Gaborik was at it again.

Anze Kopitar spotted Gaborik moving up ice quickly and gave him a pass in stride. Gaborik got an angle on Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy and moved in to terrorize goalie Hiller once again, snapping a quick wrist shot by him.

One shot. One goal. Thirty-four seconds in and the Kings jumped out 1-0 thanks to Gaborik's sixth goal of the playoffs and third in a span of 12 minutes, 48 seconds.

"It looks like we weren't 100 percent ready at puck drop," Hiller said. "I think we kind of found our game later. But you can't expect to come back every night."

The Ducks did shake off the early body blow, taking advantage of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty being off the ice and in the penalty box. Pat Maroon got a kind bounce, tying the game when his pass toward Corey Perry kicked off the Kings' Jake Muzzin past Quick.

It would be their only one.

"I'm ticked off right now," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "We're in playoff time now. There's no excuses for anything. We got to be better. I got to be better. And I expect my group to respond."

(c)2014 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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