Kings vs. Ducks NHL Preview
Anaheim, CA (AP) - The Anaheim Ducks are hoping a return to the Honda Center can help them get back on track. Despite some solid play on a long road trip, the Los Angeles Kings are ready to head home.
With All-Star goaltender Jonas Hiller unlikely to return yet, the Ducks look to shore up their defense and snap a three-game losing streak as the Kings conclude a 10-game trip Wednesday night.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com have made the Kings -130 money line favorites for Wednesday's game against the Ducks. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 73% of more than 125 bets for this game have been placed on the Kings -130.
Since going 14-4-0 from Dec. 28-Feb. 13, Anaheim (32-24-4) has allowed 21 goals while losing three straight. The Ducks are tied with the Kings (32-23-4) with 68 points in a tight Western Conference playoff race.
Hiller has been out the last three contests after being placed on injured reserve last Wednesday with a recurrence of fatigue and lightheadedness.
Backup Curtis McElhinney has gone 0-3-0 with a 6.93 goals-against average in Hiller's absence. He was pulled in the first period of a 9-3 loss at St. Louis on Saturday after allowing four goals on 11 shots.
Timo Pielmeier wasn't any better, stopping seven of 12 shots in his NHL debut.
"It doesn't matter who's in net,'' center Ryan Getzlaf said after the club allowed its highest goal total since a 9-2 loss at Dallas on Feb. 1, 1995. "It's not that they're bad goals. They're getting bounces against us because we're not working for them.''
McElhinney or Pielmeier will likely start Wednesday with recent signee Ray Emery unlikely to be ready as he continues a conditioning stint in the AHL.
Whoever gets the nod will try to help the Ducks end their longest slide since a season-worst 0-4-2 stretch from Nov. 14-26.
While Anaheim opens a season-high seven-game stretch at the Honda Center, the Kings conclude a trip that has kept them on the road since Jan. 26.
Los Angeles is 5-1-3 on its extended stretch away from home. It had a chance to earn at least a point in a franchise-record 12th straight game Saturday but fell 3-0 to the New York Islanders.
"We had a very good road trip,'' said coach Terry Murray, whose team opens a six-game homestand Thursday. "We have one more game and then we get back home."
The Kings could get an offensive boost as forward Marco Sturm is expected to return Wednesday after missing 13 games with knee tendinitis. He will play on the first line with Wayne Simmonds and leading scorer Anze Kopitar, who has one goal in 15 games.
"Open up some ice and some room for (Kopitar)," Sturm told the Kings' official website. "He's pretty good with that, and he's also good about giving it to me, when I'm there. I've just got to make sure I use my speed more, and create some room and chances."
Sturm and Dustin Brown assisted on Kopitar's go-ahead goal in the last meeting with Anaheim - a 4-1 Kings home win Dec. 26.
Backup Jonathan Bernier turned away 18 shots in that matchup, but Jonathan Quick could be in net Wednesday. Quick, 4-1-1 with a 1.92 GAA on the road trip, made 17 saves in a 2-0 loss at Anaheim on Nov. 29.
He has gone 0-2-1 with a 2.93 GAA in his last four starts against the Ducks since winning his first five matchups with them.Los Angeles has gone 1 for 15 on the power play over the last six games. Anaheim has allowed five power-play goals in nine chances in its last two.