Los Angeles Kings center Jordan Nolan, right, and Anaheim Ducks center Nick Bonino battle for the puck as goalie Jonas Hiller of Switzerland looks on during the second period of their NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 3, 2012, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Jeff Carter doesn't understand why everybody keeps trying to tell him the Los Angeles Kings can't score.
Ever since he arrived last week, the Kings have been a solid offensive team—and the power forward finally added a couple of goals himself during Los Angeles' latest win in the Freeway Faceoff.
Carter scored his first two goals since joining the Kings, and Jonathan Quick made 29 saves in Los Angeles' 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.
Captain Dustin Brown scored a power-play goal and Anze Kopitar added an empty-netter for the Kings, who have won four of the Southern California clubs' five meetings this season. Mike Richards had three assists for Los Angeles, which also improved its playoff chances by moving within one point of Dallas for eighth place in the Western Conference with its third win in four games since Carter joined the lineup.
"It's been exciting to have a chance to come here and join a team that's really good," said Carter, who got both goals in the second period. "You look up and down the roster, and there's guys on every line here that can put the puck in the net. If we keep getting chances like we're getting, we're going to have more success like this."
Los Angeles has scored 13 goals since trading Jack Johnson to Columbus for Carter. The Kings still have an NHL-low 142 goals this season, but they had more than enough offence to deal another blow to the Ducks' fading playoff hopes.
Sheldon Brookbank and Devante Smith-Pelly scored for the Ducks, who have lost three of four following the trade deadline. Although Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said his club's special-teams effort was "horrible" while yielding two power-play goals, he also ripped into the officiating crew for making the Ducks short-handed in the first place.
"It was some of the worst calls I've seen in a long time," Boudreau said. "In a game of this importance, we can't have officiating making calls like that. I know there's three penalties we took that weren't penalties. Granted, it's probably sour grapes because they scored, but those things can't happen. It's too important and there's too much at stake for everybody not coming to do their job, whether it's us guys or whether it's the (officials)."
Boudreau got specific, identifying three consecutive calls that "were not penalties, not even close." The Kings scored power-play goals after two of those penalties.
"I've held it in all year," said Boudreau, who is 21-15-6 since taking over the Ducks on Dec. 1. "I mean, everybody makes mistakes. But if we're ... playing our fifth game in seven nights, we need it better from them. I don't know what their schedule is, whether it's four nights in a row, or what have you, but we can't have that. It's just bad calls."
While Los Angeles had the previous three days off, the Ducks finished that taxing stretch at 2-3-0. Anaheim had the NHL's best record in 2012 earlier this week, but still hasn't climbed out of its 20-point deficit in the playoff race.
Jonas Hiller stopped 16 shots in his 25th consecutive start for Anaheim, but the Ducks are stuck in 12th place in the conference, seven points from a playoff spot with 16 games to play.
"The odds haven't been in our favour since Christmas," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "But there's no doubt in here that we can still make this thing happen. Our group has never stopped believing this whole time, and we're not going to now. ... We're pretty disappointed with our effort in this locker room. We weren't as good as we needed to be to win tonight. They came out and played a strong game, and we didn't respond the way we needed to, especially our special teams."
After Brown opened the scoring with his sixth goal in six games, Brookbank evened it with a seeing-eye shot through traffic. The veteran defenceman is suddenly a scoring machine with three goals in nine games after failing to score a goal in his previous 167 NHL contests.
Carter put the Kings back ahead at the end of another scramble for rebounds during a power play, beating Hiller for his 16th goal of the season. Carter scored again 11 minutes later when Richards, his longtime Philadelphia teammate, set him up for a quick shot in the slot.
Anaheim answered just 13 seconds later when Smith-Pelly drove the net and beat Quick between the goalie's legs for the rookie's fourth career goal, his first since returning to the Ducks after breaking his left foot while playing for Canada at the World Junior Championships in late December.
NOTES: Teemu Selanne's assist on Brookbank's goal moved the 41-year-old Finnish Flash within one point of his idol, Jari Kurri, for 19th place in NHL scoring history. Selanne tied Norm Ullman for 42nd place with his 739th assist. ... Drew Doughty, the Kings' $56 million defenceman, hasn't recorded an assist in 14 games since Feb. 1. ... Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, director Jason Reitman and Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne, the leading scorer in Kings history, attended the game.