Two months after being traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets, left winger Marian Gaborik is paying significant dividends for the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup playoffs
Gaborik scored the tying goal with seven seconds left in regulation, then added the winning goal with 7:53 left in overtime to give the Kings a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in the first game of their Western Conference semifinal series on Saturday night in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 17,393 at the Honda Center.
For Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter, Gaborik's fourth and five goals of the playoffs reflect the kind of offensive style needed to succeed in the quest for the Stanley Cup.
"You've got to go to the net to score in the playoffs," Sutter said. "It doesn't matter if you pull the goalie; you've still got to go to the net. Those were classic goals. Not many people can score those goals."
Gaborik won the game when he deflected center Anze Kopitar's shot from the top of the slot past Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller at the left post.
Hiller, Anaheim's starter for most of the season, made his first start of the playoffs. In the first-round series against the Dallas Stars, Hiller twice relieved starting goalie Frederik Andersen and picked up the clinching victory in Game 6.
"They get a bounce that goes off the post, off Hilly's back and in for the winner," Ducks left winger Matt Beleskey said.
Gaborik tied the score after the Kings pulled goalie Jonathan Quick for an extra attacker. Center Mike Richards received a pass from Kopitar at the left corner and sent the puck to Gaborik, who swiped the puck between Hiller's legs.
"It kind of trickled to me," Gaborik said. "I think I batted it out of the air."
Gaborik performed his heroics in front of an intense crowd dressed mostly either in the Kings' silver-and-black or the Ducks' orange-and-black. Chants alternated between "Go, Kings, Go!" and "Let's Go, Ducks!" Anaheim fans even added an out-of-town staple: "Beat L.A.!"
"It was awesome," Sutter said about the atmosphere. "I think that's what everybody wants. The building was great. It was a physical game and I think the crowd really responded to that."
Right winger Teemu Selanne gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead at 8:08 of the third period. Left winger Patrick Maroon was stick-handling toward the net when Kings defenseman Matt Greene blocked him deep in the slot. The puck slid off Maroon's stick to Selanne, who beat Quick with a backhanded tap past Quick's stick.
"We did a lot of good things," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We had 54 hits and we had a lot of zone time. But we ended up with a loss, so it doesn't really matter."
Kings defenseman Alec Martinez began the scoring with a power-play goal. After the puck slid off Gaborik's stick, Martinez converted a wrist shot from just inside the left circle at 9:04 of the first period.
Nearly three minutes later, Beleskey tied the score. Center Ryan Getzlaf skated behind the net at the right post to attract Greene and get Quick out of position. Before rounding the post, Getzlaf sent the puck past both Kings to Beleskey, who scored on a wrist shot at 11:41 of the period.
"I think this is what all the games are going to be like," Boudreau said.
"It's going to be back and forth," Beleskey said. "It's going to be like that."
Quick, who received the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, and Hiller each made 33 saves.
NOTES: Los Angeles D Willie Mitchell did not dress because of a lingering injury he suffered in Game 6 of the first round against the San Jose Sharks. ... Kings C Anze Kopitar extended his streak of successive games with a point to eight with his assist on D Alec Martinez's first-period goal. ... Los Angeles D Robyn Regehr left the game in the first period after suffering an unspecified injury. ... The Kings became the fourth NHL team -- and the fifth in pro sports -- to win a playoff series after being down 3-0 in games to San Jose in the first round. ... Anaheim C Ryan Getzlaf became the Ducks' career leader in playoff scoring with his assist on LW Matt Beleskey's first-period goal. Getzlaf has 24 goals and 43 assists for 67 points. ... Anaheim recalled C Richard Rakell from Norfolk of the American Hockey League on Saturday. ... RW Teemu Selanne played his 90th playoff game for the Ducks, a team record.