NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 15th (All times Eastern)
Anaheim Ducks (44-16-7) at Los Angeles Kings (38-23-6), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Though Los Angeles fell one victory shy of matching the longest winning streak in club history, the Kings still have a firm hold on a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Kings will try to get back into the win column on Saturday night when they host the Anaheim Ducks for the first time since a late January meeting outdoors in the NHL's "Stadium Series."
After winning their final game before the Olympic break, the Kings got red-hot coming out of the hiatus. They won rattled off seven straight victories and were aiming for a ninth win in a row on Thursday night before falling to the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2.
Los Angeles led by two goals thanks to Marian Gaborik's first tally with the Kings since coming over in a trade and Anze Kopitar's goal with 3:55 to go in the opening period. Gaborik assisted on the tally as he recorded his first points with the Kings.
However, Toronto found the back of the net before the end of the first period, tied the game in the second and then scored shorthanded 5:06 into the third frame. The tally came right after Kopitar had a pair of shots turned aside in the other end.
Jonathan Quick yielded three goals on 29 shots as Los Angeles dropped the opener of a five-game homestand.
"We just came out kind of flat tonight," said Los Angeles head coach Darryl Sutter. "They were taking it to us and we didn't do a good job of responding."
The Kings lost for the first time since Feb. 3 and also for the first time when leading by two goals since March 30 of last year.
Kopitar, meanwhile, picked up his fifth goal and 13th point in his past 10 games, though Quick saw his six-game win streak come to an end.
Quick is 13-7-2 with a 2.39 goals against average in 24 career starts versus the Ducks, but both he and forward Dustin Brown are questionable for tonight due to illness.
If Quick is unable to play, backup Martin Jones would make his second career start versus the Ducks. He beat them back on Dec. 3 in his NHL debut, making 26 saves in a shootout victory.
Quick made 18 saves in a 3-0 loss to Anaheim on Jan. 25 at Dodger Stadium. He was bested by Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller, who logged a 36-save shutout and got supported with goals by Corey Perry, Matt Beleskey and Andrew Cogliano.
Anaheim has won two of three versus Los Angeles this season, but has lost its past five trips to the Staples Center.
While the Kings are sitting third in the Pacific Division with 82 points, nine more than the fourth-place Phoenix Coyotes, the Ducks are even with the San Jose Sharks for the top spot in the division with 95 points each.
Both Anaheim and San Jose picked up victories on Friday night and the Ducks have one game in hand. The Sharks are idle until Sunday.
Looking to snap an 0-2-2 slide, the Ducks managed a 6-4 victory on Friday night over the Colorado Avalanche. Anaheim set a club record by scoring six times in one period, with all six of its goals coming in an overall nine-goal second period.
The Ducks' six tallies in the second period came during a 16 minute, three second span, which was the fastest six-goal span in club history.
Kyle Palmieri scored twice in the frame, with Perry, Daniel Winnik, Ben Lovejoy and Mathieu Perreault also lighting the lamp. Cam Fowler, Nick Bonino and Ryan Getzlaf all had two assists.
"I thought we started out well tonight," said Getzlaf. "We dug in and shut them down in the neutral zone and we created chances."
Hiller turned aside 34 shots for the victory, one that did see Fowler exit following the second period with a lower-body injury.
Frederik Andersen could get the start for the Ducks and it would be the rookie's 19th of the season. He is 15-4-0 with a 2.28 GAA in 21 total games this season, beating the Kings the only time he faced them back on Jan. 23.
Andersen stopped 30-of-31 shots in the 2-1 win.
03/15 10:44:11 ET