THE Anaheim Ducks are back in a familiar spot — alone in first place in the Pacific Division for the first time this season after winning three straight division titles.
Two victories over the Los Angeles Kings six days apart helped them complete their remarkable comeback.
David Perron scored the go-ahead goal on a power play in the second period and the Ducks broke a franchise record with their 11th consecutive victory, beating their Southern California rivals 3-2 on Saturday.
But what had everyone talking was an incredible all-in brawl.
What began as a routine collision along the boards between Kyle Clifford and Ducks leading goalscorer Corey Perry in the Los Angeles zone at 6:58 of the first period turned into a shoving match between them — then escalated into a free-for-all that resulted in 66 penalty minutes in one fell swoop.
Fighting majors were assessed to Rakell and Kevin Bieksa of the Ducks, along with Andy Andreoff and Kris Versteeg of the Kings. Andreoff and Bieksa received game misconducts, while Anaheim’s Jamie McGinn and Los Angeles’ Luke Schenn got 10-minute misconducts.
The Ducks trailed the Kings by as many as 16 points on the morning of Jan. 20. But since then, Anaheim has gone 18-1-1 and Los Angeles 9-9-1. The teams each have 18 games left, including one more matchup on April 7 at Los Angeles.
“I think they always believed,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I mean, we haven’t changed much from what we did last year. There were a couple of big meetings, and we converted our style just a little bit.”
The Ducks lead the season series 3-1 and have won 11 of the past 14 regular-season meetings overall — including a 4-2 victory last Sunday at Honda Center.