*

upload_article_image

Kings beat Ducks 4-1 as fans return to Staples Center

Andreas Athanasiou and Blake Lizotte each had a goal and two assists and the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 on Tuesday night.

Anze Kopitar and Carl Grundstrom also scored for the Kings, who had gone 14 games since their last win by at least three goals, against St. Louis on March 17. Cal Petersen made 24 saves.

Cam Fowler scored, Anthony Stolarz made 18 saves and the Ducks lost their third straight.

Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (11) scores past Anaheim Ducks goaltender Anthony Stolarz during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP PhotoMarcio Jose Sanchez)

The teams played in front of about 2,000 fans, who were allowed into the Staples Center for the first time in more than a year due to the pandemic.

The Kings took the lead 5:26 into the first. Grundstrom was hit in the back by Athanasiou’s shot from the point, which sent the puck tumbling in past a bewildered Stolarz for his sixth goal.

Kopitar made it 2-0 at 8:31 of the second with his 10th goal. Drew Doughty’s stretch pass set up the breakaway by Kopitar, who has reached double digits in scoring in each of his 14 seasons in the NHL.

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Calvin Petersen, right, stops a shot behind Anaheim Ducks left wing Max Comtois (53) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP PhotoMarcio Jose Sanchez)

Athanasiou buried a one-timer from the right circle to push the lead to 3-0 at 10:48. It was the third multi-point game for Athanasiou this season.

Lizotte made it 4-0 at 10:50 of the third, putting Athanasiou’s rebound into an open net. Playing in his 103 career game, it was Lizotte’s first three-point game and first with multiple assists.

Fowler got the 4-1 final with his fourth goal at 14:36.

Los Angeles Kings right wing Carl Grundstrom, top center, celebrates after scoring against the Anaheim Ducks during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP PhotoMarcio Jose Sanchez)

BACK AT IT

The Kings had reinforcements on defense with Matt Roy back after missing seven games because of COVID-19, and Tobias Bjornfot returning from an upper-body injury. With their second pair back, the Kings ended a run of 12 games allowing multiple goals.

WELCOME BACK

The Kings had fans at Staples Center for the first time since March 11, 2020, with nearly 2,000 in attendance after showing proof of vaccination or a negative test as a condition of entry.

San Jose is set to follow suit starting next Monday, which will leave Chicago as the only NHL team in the United States that has yet to play in front of fans on home ice this season.

UP NEXT

Ducks: Host Vegas on Saturday.

Kings: Host Minnesota on Friday.

More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports