Preview, Game #62: Los Angeles Kings @ Anaheim Ducks
Prepare for battle.
Los Angeles Kings @ Anaheim Ducks
Time: 6:15 Pacific
Enemy Reading: Anaheim Calling
Los Angeles Kings
Injured: Nolan, Gaborik, Greene Scratched: McBain, Mersch Andreoff
Injured: Stoner Suspended: Horcoff
- Interestingly, despite some line shuffling in the past few weeks, neither team's lineup looks all that different from the teams' last matchup on January 17. The Kings have an identical top six, with Tanner Pearson having replaced Marian Gaborik on the third line and Andy Andreoff swapping in. The big difference, of course, is Rob Scuderi, who picked up an unlikely assist yesterday.
- Meanwhile, the Ducks have swapped 20-year-old Nick Ritchie into the lineup for the departed Chris Stewart, while moving Mike Santorelli up and Patrick Maroon down. Their defense is identical.
- John was pretty spot-on in our last preview of Kings-Ducks...
So the Ducks are on a roll of late, winning their last four in a row and against the Wild, Red Wings, Bruins, and Sharks- pretty solid competition to boot. They've scored the fewest goals in the league, even after a frantic 7-game stretch of 26 goals (3.7 per game). The puck luck finally balancing out for them for the rest of the season is a pretty scary thought, because the underlying numbers all say this is a pretty fantastic Ducks team. Granted, those same numbers say the Kings are probably a little bit better, but the gap is closer here than the standings probably lead you to believe. They're pretty clearly the second-best team in this division, at any rate, a class above the Sharks despite their respective slots in the standings right now.... as the gap has indeed closed considerably since that last meeting. In fact, they're essentially closer to the Kings in 1st than to the Sharks in 3rd, as the four-point gap from LA comes with a game in hand. And this last seven-game win streak is eerily similar to their last stretch, as they've notched 27 goals. That's put them all the way up to 28th in the league in goals for.
- The notable difference between the Ducks' current seven-game win streak and the six-of-seven stretch they had leading up to the last meeting? Competition. After a tough OT win in Chicago they've faced Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, Buffalo, and Edmonton. LA has also taken care of business while mirroring those final three games; seeing actual competition will be a change of pace.
- PREDICTION: Kings 2, Ducks 1.