ANAHEIM, Calif. -

Dustin Penner circles his calendar for every meeting between the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings.

"This is the type of game you put up on the bulletin board and say that's what playoff hockey is like," said Penner, the former Kings player who is in his first season as the left winger on the first line with the Ducks. "It's playoff hockey. Most of these guys know what that's all about."

Left winger Patrick Maroon scored the go-ahead goal in the second period as the Ducks defeated the Kings 2-1 on Thursday night before a sellout crowd of 17,503 at Honda Center.

The NHL-leading Ducks (38-10-5) posted their 10th win in 12 games and dealt the Kings (29-17-6) their fourth consecutive loss. Anaheim also improved to 21-1-2 at home.

"We came up short. That's something we have to learn from," said center Anze Kopitar, who scored the Kings' lone goal. "We can't just give up soft goals and easy goals."

Anaheim goalie Frederik Anderson stopped 30 shots and Kings netminder Jonathan Quick had 19 saves.

Thursday night's clash was a prelude to Saturday's encounter at Dodger Stadium, where more than 50,000 fans are expected to watch the two square off in the Stadium Series, the first time an outdoor NHL game will be played west of the Rockies.

Maroon's goal and the Anaheim defense were the difference in this one.

"I think we knew what we did in the first period wasn't good enough," said Maroon, referring to the Kings outplaying the Ducks and outshooting them 13-4 in the opening period. "After we got pucks deep in the second period, we were physical all over the ice. We worked their defense down low.

"We know they've played a lot of games these past few days, so we knew what we had to do."

The Ducks scored twice within a four-minute span to seize the lead.

Penner tied the score just 10 seconds into a power play, snagging a rebound of his own miss in front of the Kings' net and banging it over a fallen Quick for his 12th goal of the season with 6:09 left in the second period.

Four minutes later, Maroon delivered. He rebounded an attempt by defenseman Mark Fistric, circled the Kings' net and back-doored Quick for a 2-1 advantage with 2:07 remaining in the second period.

"I know every time we play this team, it's a man's game," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "You better be prepared to hit, and be hit, because they're so good. Even if we got outplayed in the first period, we can come back. Once we got our legs underneath us, I thought we played pretty good the last two periods."

Kopitar gave the Kings an early advantage, fielding a lazy pass from across the ice from left winger Dwight King that skidded past two Ducks defenders and drilling the puck by Andersen for his 14th goal of the season and a 1-0 lead 3:13 into the first period. But it wouldn't hold up.

"It was a good hockey game," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "You go on the road and you win a period, lose a period and tie a period. That's a pretty good hockey game."

The Ducks appeared to tie the score with about nine minutes remaining in the second period when defenseman Ben Lovejoy's blast hit the net, but referee Eric Furlatt waved it off after determining that right winger Tim Jackson made contact with Quick in the crease before the goal was scored.

The Kings won the initial encounter between the two in a 3-2 shootout decision on Dec. 3 in Anaheim. But players and coaches from both teams are excited about Saturday's landmark game.

"We should have some fire in our belly and be upset," Kings right winger Justin Williams said. "You have a home and home with a team, especially in our division, and the top (one) of the league right now, you better have some fire in your belly, and we'll have that."

NOTES: Ducks LW Dustin Penner returned after coach Bruce Boudreau gave him a two-game break to rest for the series against his former club. ... Los Angeles recalled C Tyler Toffoli and D Jeff Schultz on Wednesday, according to the L.A. Times. LW Tanner Pearson and RW Linden Vey were demoted to Manchester (N.H.) to make room. ... The Ducks entered the game having scored the most goals (91) and allowed the fewest (42) in 23 home games, both franchise bests. ... After Saturday's game, the Kings visit the San Jose Sharks on Monday and the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday. ... Anaheim kicks off a five-game homestand with a game on Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild.