Kings-Ducks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 17, 2011
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' last three losses have all come 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.
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