ANAHEIM (AP) — Adrian Kempe scored two goals and Troy Grosenick made 33 saves in his first NHL appearance in nearly 6 1/2 years, leading the Los Angeles Kings past the Anaheim Ducks 5-1 on Wednesday night.
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Captain Anze Kopitar, Andreas Anthanasiou and Alex Iafallo also scored for the Kings, who beat Anaheim for the first time in three tries this season and split two Freeway Faceoff meetings over the past three days with their Southern California rivals.
The 31-year-old Grosenick’s entire previous NHL experience consisted of two games for the San Jose Sharks in November 2014. When Kings goalie Cal Petersen went into the COVID-19 protocol about three hours before this game, Grosenick came through with a strong performance on short notice.
Sam Steel scored and John Gibson stopped 32 shots for the Ducks, whose 6-5 win over the Kings on Monday was their second straight following a nine-game winless streak. Gibson was visibly upset with several instances of hapless play by his injury-depleted defense.
Kempe has six goals in his last three games. The Swedish forward followed his hat trick against the Ducks on Monday with another huge offensive performance for Los Angeles, which won for just the second time in seven games.
Kempe opened the scoring in the first period with a power-play goal. Los Angeles scored on the man advantage for the sixth consecutive game.
Steel snapped his nine-game goal drought just 19 seconds after Kopitar scored for the Kings.
But Kempe scored again late in the second period, and Athanasiou converted a rebound early in the third for a goal in his second consecutive game.
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Anaheim played without defensemen Josh Manson (lower body) and Hampus Lindholm (broken left wrist) and forwards Troy Terry (lower body), Carter Rowney (knee) and Sonny Milano (post-concussion syndrome).
Grosenick got his surprise start because Los Angeles had neither of its top two goalies available. The Kings already were without Jonathan Quick, who missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury, before Petersen was sidelined.
Except for those two NHL appearances in 2014, Grosenick spent the past seven seasons in the AHL with the top affiliates for San Jose and Nashville. Grosenick signed with the Kings last October and served as their opening-night backup before he was claimed off waivers by Edmonton in January and subsequently reclaimed by the Kings in February.
Matt Villalta, a 21-year-old prospect with no NHL experience, came up from Los Angeles’ AHL affiliate to serve as Grosenick’s backup.
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