Kings, Ducks meet for second time in a week
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings travel down the freeway Friday to take on the Anaheim Ducks. The squads last met a week ago in Los Angeles. Three fights took place before three minutes had elapsed, all within four seconds of playing time of each other. The Ducks claimed a 4-2 win after scoring the first three goals of the game.
Anaheim (21-15-9) has won two of its last three starts and six of its last 10 games (6-3-1), including a home victory against Pittsburgh Wednesday night. The Ducks will tie Los Angeles with 53 points if they defeat the Kings. Both will still sit outside the Western Conference wild-card spot.
Los Angeles (24-16-5) has struggled to score of late, posting fewer than three goals in six of the last 10 games. The Kings have 130 goals-for, 10th in the Western Conference. Their goaltending has kept them in games. The team has 110 goals-against, fewest in the NHL.
Los Angeles comes off a 3-1 loss against Pittsburgh at home Thursday night. Jonathan Quick allowed a weak goal in the first minute and an early goal in the third period. Quick made 28 saves in the loss. Darcy Kuemper had the prior start for the Kings, leaving it unclear who will play versus Anaheim in the second half of the back-to-back.
On Wednesday, the Ducks scored four unanswered second-period goals against Pittsburgh, including a shorthanded breakaway goal by Chris Wagner, his sixth of the season. The team survived giving up two power-play goals in the third period to claim a 5-3 win.
Goaltender John Gibson recorded 30 saves to gain his 15th victory of the season.
Coach Randy Carlyle commented, "It was disappointing that we took two penalties, and they scored two goals (in the third period) to make it exciting. I guess the entertainment value of tonight's game was up there."
On Friday, the Ducks will have Andrew Cogliano back following a two-game suspension. Cogliano made contact with the head of the Kings' Adrian Kempe Saturday.
Cogliano said Thursday, "When you sit out, you realize how much you miss it, and how much the game means to you, how much fun it is to play in this league, and it's a privilege."
He added that he was still disappointed about the suspension but said, "I'm at a point now where I think the most important thing is to get back playing and help your team start winning. ... We're in a big playoff push here, and that's all that matters."
JT Brown, acquired from Tampa Bay on waivers Sunday, has filled in for Cogliano on the checking line. He notched an assist in his Anaheim debut Monday in Colorado. He will likely drop to the third line, bumping Nick Ritchie down the lineup. Ritchie has no goals and four assists since returning from injury 13 games ago.
Los Angeles will be without defenseman Kurtis MacDermid, who has twice fought Ducks players this year. He took on Jared Boll in the first fight Saturday. MacDermid was sent to the Ontario Reign (AHL) along with Oscar Fantenberg Tuesday. Defenseman Paul LaDue and center Michael Amadio were recalled. Amadio dressed versus Pittsburgh as the Kings attempt to add speed to their lineup. He played 7:17, recording no points.
Los Angeles also welcomed Jake Muzzin back from injury versus the Penguins. Muzzin had missed three games. He recorded an assist on the Kings' only goal, playing 19:45.
The Kings may also be short Dustin Brown, who received a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct for a hit against Justin Shultz in the third period versus Pittsburgh.
He said after, "I'm going to close on him, and he stumbles, toe-picks. I don't drive him through the wall or anything, but I'm also closing on the play. At most, it's probably a two (minutes) I think. Especially, I hope he's OK. Who knows? You've got the (concussion) protocol and all that. It's one of those plays where I'm going to close; he's in an unfortunate spot."
Coach John Stevens described the approach for Friday's game. "Got to be ready to go. They're a totally different animal than Pittsburgh. They're really a tough defensive team. That's a division game. We've got to get ready for it tomorrow for sure, so we'll get reloaded and get ready."
Updated January 19, 2018