LOS ANGELES -- Not so Fasth.
The Los Angeles Kings became the first team to smudge the previously unblemished record of Anaheim Ducks goalie, newcomer Viktor Fasth, who had recorded eight victories in his first eight NHL starts.
It may have been only the 17th game of this lockout-shortened season for both teams, but the Kings' 5-2 victory against the Ducks on Monday night at Staples Center had all the trappings of a playoff contest.
It was the Kings' fourth straight victory; they have won six of their last seven. The Ducks lost for the first time in seven games.
The Kings, sparked by center Anze Kopitar's three assists, had third-period goals by defensemen Slava Voynov and Jake Muzzin, on the power play, and a late empty-netter by Jeff Carter, who has a team-leading 10 goals.
"We're on a steady climb to where we want to be," Kings left wing Dustin Penner said. "It started in Detroit and that steady climb continues."
This featured the reigning Stanley Cup champion Kings against their Orange County rivals, the Ducks, who won the Cup in 2007. And it highlighted Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, the playoff MVP last season, against the hot new goalie on the block, Fasth.
The game also served as the Kings' chance to regroup after they lost, 7-4, to the Ducks on Feb. 2. In that game, the Kings pulled starting goalie Quick in favor of Jonathan Bernier less than six minutes into the game.
For the Kings, it was their first chance to see Fasth up close. It was Fasth's shakiest outing since he allowed five goals on 31 shots against St. Louis, but he got that win in a shootout.
"It had to come at some point," Fasth said of the loss. "For every win you have, you get closer to a (loss). Just start over, and work hard in practice ... we have to forget this and move on. I felt like that during the whole game that I had to work really hard to see the pucks and to keep them to me. It's one of those games."
Anaheim was up, 2-1, with 2:07 remaining in the second period when the Kings tied it on Dustin Brown's sixth goal of the season, a blast that hit the crossbar and went in behind Fasth. That was the first of four unanswered goals by the Kings.
The game's No. 1 facilitator was Kopitar, who had three assists, a season high, and has five points in his last two games. He set up the two third-period goals and added another assist on Brown's momentum-changing equalizer.
"That was a huge goal. Especially the way the game had went," said Penner, who scored his first goal of the season, tying it, 1-1, in the second period with his tip past Fasth.
Penner was referring to the way the momentum had been tilting the Ducks' way, especially with back-to-back power plays in the second period.
Quick elaborated, saying: "But if you stop them (on the power play) you can get momentum back. It goes both ways. We've been through times like that. We've got a resilient group. We responded very well."
Anaheim's goals came from speedy Andrew Cogliano, who scored just 13 seconds into the second period, and center Saku Koivu, on the power play, at 5:51 of the second.
Koivu's goal made it 2-1, and he was aided by Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi's clearing attempt, which went right to Koivu's stick.
Brown had the chance to add a second goal Monday night when he was awarded a penalty shot after Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy pulled him down with 2:33 remaining. But Brown's attempt went off the side of the net. He is one for three in penalty-shot attempts in his career.
There were, of course, the big plays that are not reflected in the scoring summary.
For example, Kings defenseman Drew Doughty played an inspired game and crushed Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin with a bone-rattling hit, and also made a stellar defensive play on a potential scoring chance by Cogliano.
Said Doughty: "Whenever we play Anaheim, they're someone we want to play tremendously hard. We gave it back to them. We made sure we stood our ground."
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