The LA Kings fell to the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in overtime in the third game of the preseason Sunday night in Anaheim. It was the first game for the Kings’ group that did not travel to Australia for the 2023 NHL Global Series, and the lineup featured mostly prospects and AHL veterans.
Goaltender Jacob Ingham, who was stellar for the Kings at the Rookie Faceoff last week in Las Vegas, got the start and was reliable again, stopping 29 of 32 Anaheim attempts on goal.
Despite an early power play opportunity for the Kings, Anaheim seemed to control play for the majority of the first period. The Ducks opened the scoring with less than five minutes remaining in the period when Sam Carrick cashed in on a give-and-go chance with Nikita Nesterenko to beat Ingham.
The Kings were reenergized to start the second period and created several chances against Ducks starting goaltender Calle Clang. Tomas Suchanek replaced Clang midway through the period and was immediately forced to make two big saves, the second a spectacular sprawling glove save on Kings’ newcomer Charles Hudon.
Hudon, who joined the organization on an AHL contract, had another great opportunity to even the score later in the period but the puck rolled off his stick before he could flick it past Suchanek.
Francesco Pinelli tied the game for the Kings with 2:35 left in the middle period. He skated into the Ducks’ zone up the right wing and quickly released a wrist shot which fooled Suchanek, who grazed the puck before it found the back of the net.
Ontario Reign captain TJ Tynan, who wore the ‘C’ for the Kings tonight, inadvertently clipped Ducks’ forward Leo Carlsson with a high stick to send Anaheim to the power play early in the third period. Brock McGinn was called for interference during the advantage, which resulted in an abbreviated Kings power play.
It didn’t take long for LA to convert on the power play, as Alex Laferriere fired a shot from the slot to give the Kings their first lead of the game. Laferriere fanned on his first opportunity but recollected the puck and fired it past Suchanek.
The Kings were awarded another power play just a minute later but were unable to convert, and an unfortunate bounce made its way to Ducks defenseman Nick Wolff as he was stepping out of the penalty box. Wolff skated into the offensive zone and fed Jackson LaCombe, who snapped off a game-tying goal from the left circle.
The game went to overtime where LaCombe left his mark again. He sped into the offensive zone and beat Ingham on a deceptive backhand shot to win the game.
The exhibition contest ended with a shootout, similar to the Australia games, and the Kings would prevail 2-0 on goals from Taylor Ward and Hayden Hodgson, and two impressive saves from Ingham.
Postgame thoughts from Marco Sturm, who was the head coach for the Kings in the game, as well as Ingham, are below.
On the performances of Francesco Pinelli and Alex Laferriere
Frankie [Pinelli] is a totally different player than he was a year ago and he showed it at the Rookie Faceoff. He scored a nice goal today. He’s very calm and he’s very comfortable, so we’re happy about that. For Laferriere, we expect nothing else. There’s always room to grow. He knows he’s a good, dominant player, but he just has to show up every night and maybe be a little more consistent. That will come. He doesn’t have too many games under his belt yet. They’ve both been great.
On trying to find success with a brand new group of players
We packed a lot of information into their heads the last few days, so it’s not easy. The good thing is, most of the new guys have been around [the league] so they have some experience. Still, it was a lot the last few days and overall it was probably pretty normal for them, besides the first period. We saw a pretty good game from us and it’s just unfortunate we gave it away at the end.
On another impressive game from Jacob Ingham
He was solid. He made some really good saves, especially in the first period. In the second period and third period, he didn’t have as much to do, but I thought he was pretty calm in net. Again, he’s another guy who had a tough year last year with the injury. We’re all happy for him and I thought he was really solid tonight.
On seeing NHL Preseason action tonight after last week’s rookie showcase
I think it felt a little bit different. I was really excited and a little bit nervous to be honest. Getting to wear that NHL jersey was good. I think this is my sixth training camp so it was a big moment for me, thinking back to where I was a year ago and to get here now and have this opportunity to play. I think there’s good nerves and I felt a little nervous going in, but I think I found my game and settled in.
On refocusing for the shootout
It was a quick reset. Honestly, on the OT goal, I think I got a little ahead of it. I thought the [Ducks] guy was going to grab the puck and then try to go upstairs, high-glove. He made a good move, grabbed it quick, and snuck it five-hole. After that, I just shut the door. I’m normally pretty good at shootouts and I knew that we lost in overtime, but we were going to win the shootout.
On his confidence level after tonight
My confidence is really high right now. It’s been a long time coming and I’m really happy but every day we’re going to work. Credit to [goalie development coach] Adam Brown. He’s really been helping me take my game to the next level and he’s been working with me and hitting all the little things during practice so we stay sharp and continue to play well. I think it all comes down to playing now. We’ve put in all the work in the summer and now let’s just go out and play. Brownie and I have been working together closely but there hasn’t been too much video or instruction. It’s kind of just about going in there, getting my game as fast as I can now and being ready to play when called upon. Hopefully we get called upon a little more now going down the stretch.
The Kings are back in action Wednesday in Las Vegas against the Golden Knights.