LOS ANGELES (AP) - Moments after securing the No. 1 seed for the Western Conference playoffs, Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau was asked the secret to beating the Los Angeles Kings four straight times.
“Having great goaltending,” Boudreau said.
Nick Bonino and Matt Beleskey also scored in regulation and Frederik Andersen finished with 27 saves for the Ducks. Anderson, returning from an injury, also stopped all four attempts in the shootout.
Anaheim will face Dallas in the opening round of the postseason.
“After having the time off that he did, it was important the he come in and play a real good game.” Boudreau said.
It also leaves the coach with a difficult decision for the postseason. Play Andersen, who’s recovered after missing three games with an upper-body injury, or go with fellow rookie John Gibson, who had a shutout last week and then got the win in the Pacific Division clincher?
Or just stick with veteran Jonas Hiller, who has struggled of late?
“But I think if you get more in the habit of winning every day, it’s harder to defeat you,” Boudreau said.
The Ducks, who needed only a point to wrap up the top seed, got offense from an unlikely source.
Smith-Pelly, who has spent most of the season in the minors, scored his first goal in regulation since Oct. 31st to help his chances of making the postseason roster.
Anze Kopitar had two goals, including the tying one with 3:12 left in the third period, and Dustin Brown also scored for Los Angeles. The Kings fell short of getting their franchise-record 47th win in their regular-season finale.
The Kings are already locked into a first-round playoff matchup with San Jose.
“I think the last couple of games, definitely our intensity was there,” Kopitar said. “Our intensity was there, our effort was there and that was obviously our preparation for the playoffs.”