Kings-Ducks Preview

The Los Angeles Kings appear to be putting a rough stretch

behind them.

The Anaheim Ducks are still mired in the middle of their

own.

The Kings look to sweep a home-and-home set on consecutive days

against the Ducks for the first time Thursday night when the teams

meet in Anaheim.

Los Angeles (9-6-3) has won three of four following a

season-high five-game losing streak (0-3-2).

The Kings’ recent success continued Wednesday with a 2-1

shootout win over the Ducks at home to open this season’s Freeway

Faceoff. Justin Williams scored the decisive goal in the seventh

round of the tiebreaker, putting Los Angeles in position to beat

the Ducks on consecutive days for the first time. The teams have

played five previous home-and-home back-to-backs, with the first

four ending in splits before Anaheim swept a pair of meetings April

8 and 9.

“Any time we play them, it’s a battle,” Williams said. “They’re

always a tough opponent, especially later in the year when we’re

battling for playoff spots. We got a little revenge from last year

and we want to take these four points.”

Returning the favor Thursday could also add some animosity to

this burgeoning rivalry.

“For it to be like a Montreal-Boston type of thing, you need it

to have that type of history,” Williams said. “You need to have

those battles in the playoffs, where you say, ‘You remember that

Kings and Ducks series in 2012?’ You need to have that type of

memory, but it’s a rivalry for us and it’s a rivalry for our fans,

and if both teams can succeed, it’s certainly going to be good for

Southern California.”

New Kings center Mike Richards made his presence felt in this

rivalry, netting the one shot in 37 through overtime that beat

Jonas Hiller on Wednesday. Richards, acquired from Philadelphia

over the summer, has three goals in his last four games after

scoring two in his first 14 with Los Angeles.

Anaheim (6-8-4) has dropped eight of nine overall (1-5-3) and

four of five at home to fall into the Pacific Division cellar. The

Ducks have lost their last four games that went beyond regulation,

including three that ended in shootouts.

“It’s definitely frustrating to lose in a shootout again,” said

Hiller, who stopped five shots in Wednesday’s tiebreaker. “Those

points might cost us in the end, and we sure wish it wouldn’t have

been to a division rival.”

The Ducks have scored two goals or fewer in seven of their last

nine games while being shut out twice, and their top line of

30-goal scorer Bobby Ryan, two-time All-Star Ryan Getzlaf and

reigning Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry is struggling.

Ryan – a 30-goal scorer in each of the last three seasons –

hasn’t found the net in five games, while Getzlaf and Perry have

one goal apiece over the past six contests.

Only Getzlaf scored in the shootout Wednesday, and he assisted

with Perry on Teemu Selanne’s goal with 3:25 to play in regulation

that helped the Ducks salvage a point in the standings.

Selanne’s tally ended his own five-game drought, and he’ll now

try to end an eight-game stretch without a goal at home.