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Kopitar leads Kings past Ducks 3-2 in tight Freeway Faceoff

By GREG BEACHAM
Created: 01/18/2016 9:55 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist, Vincent Lecavalier added a power-play goal and the Los Angeles Kings opened the Freeway Faceoff rivalry series for the season with a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night.

Tyler Toffoli scored and Jonathan Quick made 30 saves for the Kings, who beat their Southern California archrivals in regulation for the first time in 11 regular-season meetings.

David Perron scored in his first game with Anaheim, but the Ducks lost in regulation for just the third time in 11 games since Christmas. Rickard Rakell also scored, and John Gibson stopped 23 shots in a duel of All-Star goalies.

The Kings and Ducks didn't meet until the 44th game of their respective seasons, but they'll face off four more times before the postseason.

They've already exchanged their traditional roles this season: Los Angeles has soared to a healthy lead in the Pacific Division standings, while three-time defending division champion Anaheim is fighting to get into playoff position.

The Freeway Faceoff featured its usual hard hits and fights, but the Kings awoke from a recent stretch of unimpressive play with a gritty defensive effort in the face of a tough third-period charge by the Ducks.

The Kings had lost their last four regular-season visits to Anaheim, and the Ducks won four of five Freeway Faceoffs last season, rallying from a third-period deficit four times. The rivalry game was decided by one goal for the eighth time in the last 10 editions.

Perron played 16:26 in his debut for the Ducks, and he ended his personal 19-game goal drought with a long wrist shot early in the third period. Anaheim acquired the veteran left wing from Pittsburgh late Friday night, with Carl Hagelin going to the Penguins in a swap of offensively struggling forwards.

Lecavalier, a healthy scratch for most of the season in Philadelphia, opened the scoring with a goal in his second straight game. He has three points in five games while excelling in the faceoff circle since he agreed to join Los Angeles for what he says is his last NHL season.

Rakell evened it just 33 seconds later on a remarkable deflection of Shea Theodore's shot with the shaft of his stick while reaching across his body one-handed.

Toffoli put the Kings back ahead with his 22nd goal. Kopitar then deflected Brayden McNabb's shot in front for his 13th goal, punctuating his second game since finalizing an $80 million contract extension with the Kings on Saturday morning.

Perron kept it close with his fifth goal of the season from long range. The Ducks thought they tied it with 10 minutes left, but officials ruled Andrew Cogliano kicked the puck into the net.

NOTES: Theodore got a point in the third straight game of his rookie season. ... Kings D Jake Muzzin extended his point streak to seven games. He has the longest point streak by a Kings defenseman since December 2005, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... Teemu Selanne attended the game. ... Before the game, Anaheim put D Clayton Stoner (hip) on injured reserve and recalled G Anton Khudobin from the AHL to serve as Gibson's backup in place of Frederik Andersen, who has an upper-body injury.

(Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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