The Los Angeles Kings remain very much alive in the congested
Western Conference playoff picture thanks to impressive efforts on
both ends of the ice.
While the Anaheim Ducks are running out of time to make a
postseason run, they aren’t ready to give up hope just yet.
The visiting Kings try for a fifth win in six meetings with the
Ducks as the southern California rivals conclude their season
series Friday night.
With 78 points, Los Angeles (33-25-12) is one of five teams
within six of sixth-place Chicago for the final three postseason
berths in the West.
“We have to take care of our own game,” said captain Dustin
Brown, who has five goals and nine assists during a nine-game point
streak. “But with the way it is and the amount of games left, you
always scoreboard-watch just because it’s so tight. Ultimately, we
have to win games for us to have a chance, and that’s our main
priority. Afterward, you have to worry about what happened around
Ranking next to last in the league with 2.20 goals per contest,
the Kings have averaged 3.43 during a 5-2-0 run to keep pace in the
Los Angeles has also killed all 32 of its opponents’ power-play
opportunities over its last 10 games, including all four during
Tuesday’s 5-2 win over Detroit. Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter, Justin
Williams and Anze Kopitar each notched a goal and an assist while
Jonathan Quick came up with 22 saves.
Anaheim (30-30-11), meanwhile, needs lots of help if it’s going
to get back in the mix. While a recent 0-2-1 skid certainly hurt,
the 12th-place Ducks are hoping they started to turn things around
with Wednesday’s 4-0 win over the Red Wings.
“All we can do is win as many games as possible,” said Jonas
Hiller, who turned away 23 shots for his fourth shutout. “You have
to take care of it on our end, and hope that’s going to be
Bobby Ryan scored and Teemu Selanne tallied his 1,400th career
point with his 660th goal, while 21-year-old Kyle Palmieri scored
twice in his 13th game since getting called up from the AHL.
“The confidence definitely feels good,” Palmieri said.
“Hopefully, going forward, I can keep making an impact on the game
and help this team put together a nice win streak … Hopefully I
can keep playing this way and earn my spot in the lineup.”
While Palmieri could make things difficult on the Kings, they
may not have to worry about slowing down reigning league MVP Corey
Perry, who’s been held out the last two games with a sore right
shoulder. Defenseman Luca Sbisa could also miss his third straight
contest due to an upper-body injury.
Hiller is 6-1-0 with a 1.55 goals-against average over his last
seven home starts. He’s also been superb against the Kings at home
over the course of his career, going 7-2-0 with a 1.66 GAA and two
Quick is 2-3-1 with a 3.47 GAA over his last six road games.
He’s 4-4-0 with a 3.01 GAA in nine career visits to the Honda
The Kings have taken four of five from the Ducks this season,
though the teams have split two matchups in Anaheim.