The Ducks needed one point in the standings Saturday night at Staples Center to clinch the best record in the Western Conference and earn the not-so-small bonus of locking up home-ice advantage for at least the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Kings needed to hold the Ducks to four goals or less in order to claim at least a share of the Jennings Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive team. The Kings and Bruins each have given up a meager 174 goals, with the Bruins playing their final game today. All things considered, the Ducks got the better of the deal with a 4-3 shootout victory in the Kings’ regular-season finale. The Ducks will face the Dallas Stars in the first round of the playoffs later this week, and the Kings will play the San Jose Sharks. “It’s a good team,” Ducks defenseman Stephane Robidas said of the Stars, his former team. “You can’t take them for granted. They got the eighth spot. That’s a real good team. They’re fast. They have good depth. They have good goaltending. “It’s a tough conference. You look at all eight teams and anybody can beat anybody.” Devante Smith-Pelly scored the only goal in a four-round shootout as Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau ditched his usual lineup and went with younger and less experienced shooters, what with the conference’s best record already secured. Matt Beleskey put the Ducks ahead 3-2 with a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle at 15 minutes, 13 seconds of the third period. Anze Kopitar then tied the score for the Kings on a wrist shot from the slot at 16:48, his second goal of the period. The Ducks (53-20-8) and Kings (46-28-8) could meet for the first time in the playoffs if they each win their opening-round series, a fact that was on the mind of Ryan Getzlaf after the game. Getzlaf and the Ducks won the regular-season series with the Kings 4-0-1. “Obviously, you never want a team to think they can beat you,” he said. “This year, we’ve been able to handle them. We’ve had years in the past where we’ve had a tough time beating them. It’s good to have the last win against them going into the playoffs in case we do face them.” The teams traded goals less than two minutes apart in the first period. Dustin Brown converted on a breakaway after a neutral zone turnover to give the Kings a 1-0 lead. Nick Bonino countered for the Ducks, whipping a backhander into the net while diving to the ice. Smith-Pelly gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead when defenseman Hampus Lindholm’s shot from the perimeter struck his skate and eluded Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. A video review of the play upheld the call because Smith-Pelly did not direct the puck into the net with a distinct kicking motion.
Ducks shoot down Kings, win Western Conference title
L.A. Daily News | Apr 13