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GAME: Los Angeles Kings (16-13-6-4) at Anaheim Mighty Ducks (13-17-5-5).TIME: Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. EST.
Nearly halfway through the season, two teams separated by a short freeway ride will finally meet for the first time when the Los Angeles Kings visit the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
This is the first of six meetings between the geographic and Pacific Division rivals. The teams will meet three times this month, then play a home-and-home series at the end of February and conclude the season series March 14.
Neither team is playing very well right now.
While Los Angeles is winless in its last eight games (0-2-5-1), Anaheim is 0-2-1 in its last three and 3-7-1 in its past 11.
The Kings appeared headed for their third straight loss Saturday before Martin Straka scored a short-handed goal with 22 seconds left in regulation.
"It was a tough, hard game -- and to get a tie in the last minute feels great," Straka said.
Cristobal Huet will make his sixth consecutive start in goal for Los Angeles on Wednesday. Roman Cechmanek is still sidelined with a bruised left hip and third-string goalie Milan Hnilicka was placed on injured reserve Friday with a broken finger.
The Kings, still missing several regulars due to injury, haven't gone winless in nine straight since an 0-5-3-1 skid from Feb. 12-28, 1994.
Anaheim continued a pivotal stretch Monday with a 2-2 tie against the Stars.
Anaheim, six points behind the final playoff spot, is in a stretch where it plays 16 straight games against Western Conference teams.
"The bottom line is, we cashed in on a power-play opportunity," Rucchin said. "We're not getting too many of them lately. We seem to be getting just one or two a game. I think we're pretty used to it by now, unfortunately."
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