Ducks vs. Kings Preview
LOS ANGELES, CA (AP) - The Los Angeles Kings weren't able to get on the board in their last meeting with the Anaheim Ducks. Considering their recent scoring run, though, another lackluster performance appears unlikely.
Looking to avenge their only shutout loss of the season, the Kings will try for a third consecutive victory when they host the Ducks on Sunday night.
Los Angeles, which is averaging 4.0 goals - 1.1 more than its season average - over its last six games, was blanked 2-0 in Anaheim on Nov. 29, capping a 1-7-0 finish to November.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Kings -165 money line favorites for Sunday's game against the Ducks. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 86% of more than 98 bets for this game have been placed on the Kings -165.
"We're too good of a team not to win games," goalie Jonathan Quick said after the loss. "We're going to start winning soon, and I think we'll be a better team for having gone through this."
The Kings (20-12-1) have since gone 7-2-1, including a 3-2 shootout victory over Edmonton on Thursday night as Quick continued his impressive play of late.
After Los Angeles fell behind 1-0, Justin Williams registered his third goal in four games to even the score, and Jack Johnson found the back of the net to erase a 2-1 deficit in the third period.
Dustin Brown and Jarret Stoll scored in the shootout, helping Terry Murray became the fastest coach in Kings history to record 100 regular-season victories, doing so in 197 games with the team.
"Coaches win because they've have pretty good players," said Murray. "We've got good character here."
They also have Quick, who is 6-2-1 with a 1.96 goals-against average and two shutouts in December. He stopped 27 of 29 shots Thursday and improved to 4-0-0 in shootouts, and his 1.59 GAA at home ranks first among goalies with at least four starts.
"Obviously we didn't have the best game, but at the end we had our big players step up and score some goals and Quickie made some great saves to get two points, two very important points," Williams told the Kings' official website.
Quick won his first five starts versus the Ducks before going 0-2-1 with a 2.93 GAA in his last four.
Anaheim (18-16-4), however, has lost three of four overall after falling 5-2 in Buffalo on Tuesday night. Jonas Hiller, who is tied for the most games played among goalies with 32, received a rare night off.
The Ducks trailed early after Curtis McElhinney allowed three first-period goals, and they didn't score until Corey Perry tallied two power-play goals with under five minutes remaining.
"They definitely had a lot more energy than we did," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "We didn't show that we had much energy or sharpness."
Hiller is likely to be back in goal versus the Kings and will be looking for a third consecutive win against them. Although Hiller stopped all 27 shots in the 2-0 win last month, he's 0-3-0 with a 4.11 GAA in Los Angeles.
Perry leads the Ducks with 19 goals and 41 points and has six goals and five assists in his last six contests. Teammate Bobby Ryan has just one assist in his last five games, but he has registered seven points in six career games at Staples Center, including a hat trick in a 4-3 loss Jan. 8, 2009.
Anaheim had lost four of five road matchups with Los Angeles before winning 2-1 in a shootout April 3.
The Ducks, who are playing their sixth of seven straight on the road, are 7-10-3 away from home this season, while the Kings are 12-2-1 at Staples Center - the NHL's best winning percentage at home.