The Ducks shattered a stereotype or two during their grinding 2-1 victory Thursday over the Kings at the Honda Center, which was to say they flexed their muscles and took a game away from a team that’s generally regarded as being as tough as a night in jail.

It was, as Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau would later say, “a man’s game,” a bruising test of wills in the corners and in front of the nets. Instead of trying to skate away from the Kings, as in the past, the Ducks dug in their heels and took it to their more physical rivals.

“We’ve had our difficulties with them the last year and a half,” Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. “We know we’re going to have to go through them to win the Stanley Cup. Tonight was not a great effort out of the Ducks in the first period. But we’re a team that knows we can turn it on.”

Lovejoy’s bone-jarring hit on Jarret Stoll sparked the Ducks in the second period.

Dustin Penner and Patrick Maroon scored second-period goals enabling the NHL-leading Ducks to rally from a 1-0 first-period deficit in the first of two games between the budding rivals. The Kings (29-17-6) play host to the Ducks (38-10-5) on Saturday at Dodger Stadium.

Expect more of the same.

“We should have some fire in our belly and be upset,” forward Justin Williams said after the Kings lost their fourth consecutive game. “You have a home-and-home with a team in our division and atop our league right now, you better have some fire in your belly, and we’ll have that.”

The Kings took a 1-0 lead on Anze Kopitar’s first goal in 11 games, a rebound into an open net only 3 minutes, 13 seconds into the game. After a Ducks turnover, Trevor Lewis raced ahead of the flatfooted defense and delivered a shot that goalie Frederik Andersen handled.

Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin didn’t get back quickly enough to prevent Kopitar from scoring for the first time since Dec. 31 against the Dallas Stars, though. The Kings outplayed the Ducks the rest of the first period and outshot them by 13-4.

Falling behind isn’t the curse for the Ducks that it is for other NHL teams, however. The Ducks improved to a stunning 16-6-1 when the opposition scores first. By way of contrast, none of the league’s other 29 teams is over .500 when trailing to start a game.