|NHL: Anaheim Ducks at LA Kings Preview & Picks|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Thursday, 15 November 2007 03:04|
Trying to Get Above .500
Chris Pronger's strong play has helped the Anaheim Ducks get back to .500, but he was almost denied an opportunity to help them finally get over that mark.
Pronger, who had a one-game suspension repealed by the NHL, will try and help the Ducks move above .500 for the first time this season when they visit the intrastate rival Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night in the finale of a home-and-home series.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Los Angeles -118 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 80% of bets for this game have been placed on Anaheim +108 (View NHL Bet Percentages).
It seemed Pronger was going to miss this game after getting an instigating minor at the end of overtime in Anaheim's 4-3 shootout win over Los Angeles on Tuesday night. A one-game suspension is automatically given to a player who receives an instigating penalty in the final five minutes of a game.
The league, however, reversed its decision after reviewing the scuffle that involved Kings center Michal Handzus, according to the Ducks' official Web site.
"The video doesn't lie," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "When two players are engaging in pushing and shoving and then they start into a fight, I don't see where it's an instigator penalty."
Pronger has eight assists in his last eight games against Los Angeles (8-8-1).
A 4-1-1 record in November has gotten the Ducks (8-8-3) back to the break-even mark. Pronger has registered seven assists this month, including a helper on Ryan Getzlaf's power-play goal for the first score of Tuesday's game.
The defending Stanley Cup champions, who are facing the Kings for the second of three meetings in a six-game stretch, have won each of their last two games in shootouts. Anaheim, which began the season by splitting a two-game set with Los Angeles in London, is 11-4-4 against the Kings since the start of the 2005-06 season.
Kent Huskins scored a power-play goal and Todd Marchant also tallied for the Ducks on Tuesday. Anaheim has scored 10 goals in its last three games after being held to two or less in six of its previous seven contests.
The Ducks, though, must continue to improve on the road. They were winless in their first six road games (0-6-1) before a 5-2 win over Phoenix on Nov. 3.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, is 5-2-0 at Staples Center since losing its first three games there.
The Kings have engineered strong third-period rallies in each of their last two games. They scored two goals in the third period against the Ducks to steal a point, three days after coming back from a 4-0 deficit with five goals in a 5:07 span of the third period to beat Dallas 6-5.
"You always want to get that extra point ... but overall we're happy with the effort," said Kings winger Michael Cammalleri, who scored the tying goal Tuesday.
Cammalleri has a seven-game points streak against Anaheim, registering eight goals and three assists in that span. He ranks among the NHL's leaders with 12 goals.
Alexander Frolov, who leads Los Angeles with 18 points (four goals, 14 assists), has four goals and 10 points in his last nine games against the Ducks. He had three assists Tuesday, including helpers on both of the Kings' third-period tallies.
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