NHL playoffs: Gaborik leads Kings to Game 1 win over Ducks
ANAHEIM, Calif.—Marian Gaborik and the Los Angeles Kings stole the Anaheim Ducks’ magic and made their own Saturday night in a captivating Game 1 of the first freeway series of hockey.
Gaborik scored with seven seconds remaining in regulation, and again 12:07 into overtime to lift the Kings to a 3-2 victory in the Western Conference semifinal opener at Honda Center.
Thanks to a third assist from Anze Kopitar, Gaborik deflected in the crisp pass to Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller’s right, the puck striking the post before it went in the goal and spawned a wild Kings celebration.
“It was a great pass,” Gaborik said. “I just tried to tip it, and it went off the post and back in.”
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said Gaborik produced “classic goals … you have to go to the net to score in the playoffs.”
The twist of fate was striking, considering the comeback routine the top-seeded, Pacific Division-champion Ducks have been in all season. They’ve rallied for 28 wins.
Now, however, they’ve surrendered home-ice advantage and had a victory set up by their legendary icon stolen from them.
Ducks forward Teemu Selanne beat Kings goalie Jonathan Quick 8:08 into the third period for a 2-1 lead.
Selanne, 43, and retiring at season’s end, caught up to teammate Patrick Maroon on a drive to the net, gathered the puck and backhanded it through Quick for his first goal since March 23.
“It could’ve gone either way,” Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said. “It’s pretty painful right now, but you’ve got to move on. It’s going to be a long series, and tonight showed that.”
The Kings’ own knack for comebacks continued a game after they surged back from three games down in the first-round series against San Jose and beat the Sharks four consecutive times.
This time, with Quick out of the net, the Ducks in firm defensive mode and the final seconds ticking down, Gaborik swatted in the tying goal.
“He saw me in front and just threw it there and it just kind of trickled to me, and I think I batted it out of the air,” said Gaborik, a Kings’ trade-deadline acquisition from Columbus. “It was one of those things — try to go to the net and see what happens.”
Kings center Mike Richards sent a shot from the side that bounced off Hiller and escaped Ducks defenseman Bryan Allen before Gaborik’s heroics.
“They threw it at the net, I thought I got a piece of it,” said Hiller, making his first start since April 6 after coming off the bench to help the Ducks clinch their first-round series Sunday. “We were not strong enough, maybe a little too passive there. It’s too bad. Trying not to get scored on gave them some confidence.”
The Ducks, who outhit the Kings 51-31 through regulation, swarmed early in the second period when injured Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr didn’t return after the intermission. The Kings went more than 16 minutes without a shot on goal before defenseman Matt Greene’s try was saved by Hiller.
The teams started their No. 1 lines, the Kings’ Gaborik, Kopitar and Dustin Brown going against the Ducks’ Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Matt Beleskey.
Each figured in a first-period exchange of goals.
A hooking call on Ducks center Nick Bonino led to the Kings breaking through first on a power-play goal by defenseman Alec Martinez 9:04 into the game
Pressure by Gaborik to Hiller’s left side distracted the goalie, the puck bouncing to Martinez, who slammed it into the net. Kopitar extended his points streak to eight games with a secondary assist.
Less than three minutes later, the Getzlaf line answered as the Hart Trophy finalist surged behind Quick, dished a pass through the goalie and defenseman Jake Muzzin, and Matt Beleskey slapped it in.
It was Beleskey’s third goal against the Kings this year.
BRUINS 5, CANADIENS 2
BOSTON — Reilly Smith scored the go-ahead goal with 3:32 left, and Boston rallied from two down in the third period to beat Montreal and tie the Eastern Conference semifinals at one game apiece.
The Bruins trailed 3-1 with just over nine minutes remaining before Dougie Hamilton scored, then Patrice Bergeron tied it with 5:43 remaining. Reilly then wristed a cross-ice pass from Torey Krug past Carey Price to give Boston the lead.
Tuukka Rask had 25 saves for Boston — the first time in 10 tries in his career that he has beaten the Bruins’ Original Six rival at the TD Garden. Milan Lucic added an empty-netter with 66 seconds left.
Price stopped 30 shots for Montreal. Thomas Vanek twice tipped P.K. Subban’s slap shots into the net, and Mike Weaver also scored for the Canadiens.
Games 3 and 4 are in Montreal on Tuesday and Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.