Big Two Points Up for Grabs as Ducks and Kings Renew Rivalry
Friday, 03.02.2012 / 11:21 PM
LAST 10: Anaheim 6-3-1; Los Angeles 3-5-2
It's the fifth of six editions of the Freeway Face-Off. Each team won once in regulation in Anaheim, and the Kings have won both games at Staples Center in shootouts.
Not that these local rivals have much regard for one another any way, but the need for points in the playoff chase should ratchet up the intensity of this game a few extra notches. Both teams begin the night outside the top eight in the West and can't afford many more losses.
Back-to-back losses to Colorado and Buffalo earlier in the week took some lustre off a 6-1-2 stretch that moved the Ducks within four points of eighth place. That's why Friday's 3-2 home win against Calgary was so big -- well, that and the way the Ducks won: Ryan Getzlaf
ended a 17-game goal drought by scoring the winner with 46 seconds left in regulation.
It was the perfect way to head into a showdown with their local rival.
"It was an emotional one," Getzlaf said. "That's a big win for our group. We've got half the battle won this weekend. Tonight's an emotional one and we've got to enjoy it right now and get ready for the next one."
The deal that brought Jeff Carter from Columbus last week has generated mixed results through three games. The good news is that the Kings have won two of the three games, including Tuesday's 4-0 victory at Minnesota. The bad news is that Carter has yet to produce a point with his new team.
Coach Darryl Sutter said adding Carter gives his team two lines that can generate offense, even if Carter hasn't produced as yet.
"Just having Carter in the lineup gives you more of that balance," he said after Friday's practice. "It's a better team. From ice level, you see more size, more speed, more hockey sense. So that's the balance right there. It's not so much what he can do, but how it spreads it out then."
Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller
will make his 25th straight start, extending his team record. He is 15-5-4 with a 1.85 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage during his 24-start streak. … Kings captain Dustin Brown has four goals and seven points in three games. Anze Kopitar, the Kings' top scorer, has three points in his last two games.
The Ducks are healthy except for backup goalie Dan Ellis
(groin). … L.A. is still missing forwards Simon Gagne (concussion) and Kevin Westgarth (hand).
Anaheim has allowed the first goal in each of its last six games. … The Kings are one of 10 teams that hasn't lost in regulation when leading after two periods. L.A. is 21-0-3 when taking a lead into the third period.
The Ducks are hoping that Getzlaf's game-winner gets their captain going again. He still has just nine goals all season.
"The last little bit has been a bit of a struggle with putting the puck in the net," Getzlaf said. "We had all kinds of chances the last few games. Tonight it was nice to get one."