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Preview: Kings hit the road for Round 2 of Freeway Face-Off

Coming off impressive home win versus the Rangers, team travels behind the Orange Curtain to take on rival Ducks

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Anaheim Ducks Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch

Game Time: 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time

TV: Fox Sports West (Kings Broadcast); Prime Ticket (Ducks broadcast); FOX Sports Go (streaming)

Radio: iHeart Radio / LA Kings Audio Network (Kings broadcast); AM 830 (Ducks broadcast)

The Opposition: Anaheim Calling

What to Watch

  • Tonight marks Round 2 of this year’s Freeway Face-Off. The Ducks took Round 1, also in Anaheim, December 2nd by the score of 4-2. Ryan Miller earned the win for the Ducks, with Jack Campbell suffering the loss. The Kings lead the all-time series 63-53-11. There were also 15 ties before the NHL instituted the shootout prior to the 2005–06 season. The Ducks have won the last two games between the rivals dating back to last season. The longest win streak in the series is seven games, which is held by Anaheim. The sole playoff series between the teams, the 2014 Western Conference Semifinals, was won in seven games by the Kings, who went on that year to win the Stanley Cup.
  • The Kings are 12-18-2, snapping a four-game losing streak with an impressive 3-1 victory over the Rangers Tuesday night at Staples Center. However, they still reside in the Pacific Division basement, one spot beneath the seventh-place Ducks, who sport an overall record of 13-14-4. A Ducks win would not only put Anaheim at .500, but more importantly it would move them within two points of Vancouver for the final wild-card spot in the West. The Ducks are 8-6-2 this season at “The House that Gordon Bombay built”.
  • Tonight makes the beginning of a six-game road trip for the Kings. The team’s woes away from DTLA are well-documented. They have lost 11 straight road games (technically 0-10-1) away from Staples Center. A loss tonight would break the all-time franchise record for consecutive road losses set in 1969-1970. That Kings squad finished last (sixth place) in the West, 48 points behind division champ St. Louis, and 20 points behind the fifth-place Flyers.
  • Don’t expect offensive fireworks tonight. Both teams struggle with lighting the lamp. The Kings rank 29th in the NHL in goals per game, scoring an average of 2.50 goals per game. The Ducks have not fared much better, ranking 26th in the league at 2.61 goals per game. Legendary Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant is credited with the the quote: “Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships.” Anecdotally that may be true during the playoffs, but in the regular season, at least this year, the only teams that put the biscuit in the basket less than the Kings (the team with the fewest points in the West) are the Devils and Red Wings (not coincidentally, the two worst teams in the league). Thus it should come as no surprise that Anze Kopitar, who leads the Kings in scoring with 29 points, ranks 25th in the NHL scoring race, while Ryan Getzlaf, who leads Anaheim with 25 points, is tied for 50th. Suffice to say, neither is likely to win the Art Ross at the end-of-season banquet in Vegas. Getzlaf however makes his goals count. The 14-year veteran is leading the league with five game-winning goals.
  • Finally, Forbes magazine came out yesterday its annual valuation of NHL franchises. Phillip Anschutz bought the Kings in 1996 for $113.5 million. Forbes values the team today at $850 million dollars, for a total return of 750 percent. The Samuelis purchased the Ducks from the team’s original owners, Disney, for $70 million during the 2005 lockout. Forbes places a $480 million valuation on the Ducks, reflecting a 686% return. It’s above my pay grade to calculate each owner’s annual return on investment, but suffice to say owning an NHL team, at least in Southern California, has proven to be a sound investment. If some Kings fan/economist can do the math for me they can leave their calculations in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter @MarkDevoreNHL or through the Jewels from the Crown twitter feed @JFTC_Kings. If the ROI its as good as I think it is, then I might be able to use my lawyer skills to convince my wife what we should do with my forthcoming Christmas bonus. Happy Holidays to all and GO KINGS GO!

Line-Ups

Los Angeles Kings

Iafallo -- Kopitar -- Brown
Carter -- Amadio -- Toffoli
Kempe -- Lizotte -- Wagner
Clifford -- Lewis -- Luff

Ryan -- Doughty
MacDermid -- Walker
Hutton -- Roy

Quick

Anaheim Ducks

Shore -- Getzlaf -- Terry
Rakell -- Henrique -- Silfverberg
Comtois -- Steel -- Kase
Deslauriers -- Grant -- Rowney

Lindholm -- Manson
Fowler -- Gudbranson
Guhle -- Holzer

Gibson