LOS ANGELES – The Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings walked between the palm trees into the Dodger Stadium outfield, a beach volleyball court on their right and a Kiss performance stage to their left. A surprisingly good ice rink was straight ahead, glistening in the Hollywood night.
“We felt like rock stars,” Anaheim defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. “That was by far the coolest feeling I’ve ever had playing hockey.”
After all the spectacle and sensation of the NHL’s first warm-weather outdoor game, Jonas Hiller and the Ducks demonstrated who’s on top of this rivalry — with or without a roof.
Corey Perry and Matt Beleskey scored first-period goals, and the Ducks beat the Kings 3-0 at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night.
Hiller made 36 saves in his 20th career shutout as the league-leading Ducks dominated the landmark meeting of Southern California’s two hockey teams under the stars in Chavez Ravine. Andrew Cogliano added an empty-net goal with 1:29 left to close this unusual chapter in the NHL’s expanded slate of outdoor games.
“It’s a little different playing out here, but it’s nothing that threw us off,” Hiller said.
The league threw a California carnival for the event: People in shorts and tank tops played Frisbee and practiced yoga between periods while skateboarders rolled past a ball hockey court featuring youth teams.
Although the temperature was 17 degrees C with significant humidity when Wayne Gretzky dropped the first puck, the ice held up fairly well in the night air. The Ducks had no problems adjusting to the new sightlines and backgrounds while shutting out the Kings.
“It was maybe a little slower than some rinks, but it was smooth,” Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne said. “We’re used to not-good ice out (West) anyway. The whole package was incredible. You don’t have that many chances to play in front of 55,000 people. This was pretty high on my bucket list.”
The Ducks earned their 21st victory in 24 games, beating Los Angeles for the second time in three days. The Kings lost their fifth straight game.
The Kings hosted the first official outdoor game west of the Rocky Mountains in recognition of the NHL’s near half-century in Los Angeles and their rivalry with the Ducks, who joined the league two decades ago. And though this game bore little resemblance to the snowbound outdoor contests in northern climates, the excited fans and enthused players embraced this unorthodox version of pond hockey with gusto.
“I can’t see any reason we shouldn’t do this more,” Selanne said. “The quality of hockey was great. I’m going to remember this.”
The teams wore specially designed jerseys for the game, with the Kings’ crown logo dominating their gray jerseys while the Ducks sported bright orange. After a day filled with fan events and celebrations of the cold-weather sport’s rich California roots, Anaheim showed who’s currently in charge of this rivalry.
The Ducks followed up their 2-1 victory in Thursday’s rivalry meeting in Anaheim by opening a seven-point lead over Chicago atop the overall standings.
Jonathan Quick made 18 saves as the Kings matched their longest skid of an otherwise solid season. After getting a goal in the opening minutes of Thursday’s loss, Los Angeles hasn’t scored in 116 consecutive minutes against the Ducks.
“As for us not scoring goals, it’s been a constant theme, and it’s getting embarrassing,” Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty said. “So we need to pick up our socks, and everyone needs to get hungry around the net and score goals.”
Sabres 5, Blue Jackets 2
In Columbus, Christian Ehrhoff and Marcus Foligno scored short-handed goals to lead Buffalo to a victory over the Blue Jackets.
Ryan Miller was almost flawless in goal for the Sabres, making 38 saves — standing particularly tall on Columbus’ four fruitless power plays.
Blues 4, Islanders 3 (SO)
In Uniondale, New York, Kevin Shattenkirk and Alexander Steen scored shootout goals to lift St. Louis following a puzzling goal reversal call in overtime.
After T.J. Oshie tied it for the Blues with 27 seconds left in regulation, Thomas Vanek appeared to score the winner for the Islanders on the power play with 1:15 left in overtime — but the play was overturned on review at the NHL offices in Toronto.
The puck hit Vanek’s skate blade and dribbled past Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak, but a distinct kicking motion that usually negates goals wasn’t apparent.
Hurricanes 6, Senators 3
In Raleigh, North Carolina, Manny Malhotra had two goals and an assist, leading the Hurricanes to a win over the Ottawa.
It was the third straight win for Carolina, which is 11-0-1 in its last 12 home games against the Senators.
Bruins 6, Flyers 1
In Philadelphia, Jarome Iginla and Zdeno Chara each had two goals, Tuukka Rask made 25 saves and Boston beat the Flyers.
Capitals 5, Canadiens 0
In Montreal, Alex Ovechkin returned from an injury that sidelined him two games to start a four-goal second period as the Washington Capitals ended a seven-game winless run.
John Erskine, Jay Beagle and John Carlson also scored in the middle period as the Capitals, who had scored only three goals in their four previous games, dominated the first half of the game and then shut Montreal down.
Lightning 5, Avalanche 2
In Tampa, Tyler Johnson scored three goals to lead the Lightning past Colorado.
With the Lightning leading 3-2, Johnson doubled the advantage with 5:22 remaining and then completed his first career hat trick less than 2½ minutes later. The rookie center has 16 goals this season.
Jets 5, Maple Leafs 4 (OT)
In Winnipeg, Dustin Byfuglien fired a low shot past Jonathan Bernier 2:44 into overtime to give the Jets a victory over Toronto.
The Maple Leafs’ Phil Kessel took a pass from James van Riemsdyk and fired a sharp-angled shot past Ondrej Pavelec with 1:33 left in the third period to tie the score.
Stars 3, Penguins 0
In Dallas, Kari Lehtonen made 24 saves for his second shutout in three games to lead the Stars past Pittsburgh.
Sharks 3, Wild 2 (OT)
In San Jose, Joe Thornton scored his second goal of the game with 1:30 remaining in overtime to lead the Sharks to their sixth straight win.
Patrick Marleau also scored as the two longtime San Jose stars shined one day after signing three-year contract extensions with the team.