NHL: Thursday, December 12, Honda Center, Anaheim, California, 10:00 PM ET
The Los Angeles Kings open a six-game road trip on Thursday night, and the first stop is in Anaheim. They meet the Ducks for the second time this season, and the Kings lost 4-2 at Honda Center ten days ago. It was their second straight defeat to the Ducks and fifth in the previous eight meetings with their division foes.
The Kings enjoy another awful season, sitting bottom of the Pacific Division. At least, they put an end to a four-game losing streak with a 3-1 home victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday. The Ducks are slightly better than the Kings, sitting at the 7th spot of the Pacific Division standings, just four points ahead of Los Angeles. They beat Minnesota 3-2 in a shootout on the road this past Tuesday, recording their third win in the last ten games overall.
The Kings snap a skid thanks to Jonathan Quick’s rare strong performanceThe Kings took advantage of their chances and deservedly outlasted the Rangers 3-1. Dustin Brown broke the deadlock with 11 seconds left on the clock in the first period, tallying his seventh goal of the season. Tyler Toffoli netted his seventh goal of the season in the second period, and it looked like the Kings will finish the game in a relaxed manner. However, Artemi Panarin cut the deficit with 31 seconds left in the third period, but it was too late for the Rangers who allowed one more goal to Adrian Kempe. Jonathan Quick finally had a good game, making 29 stops with a .967 save percentage.
The Kings have been struggling defensively all season long and are 25th in the league in goals against (3.22). Their goalies have the second-worst save percentage (.884). Jonathan Quick should guard the cage against the Ducks, and he’s 8-12-1 this season with a 3.13 GAA and a .888 save percentage. Quick has lost five of his previous seven starts.
On the other side, the Kings are the third-most inefficient team in the league, scoring just 2.50 goals per contest. Their power-play percentage (12.5%) is the third-worst in the NHL, too. Center Anze Kopitar is the Kings’ best player this season. He’s scored 11 goals along with 18 assists, while defenseman Drew Doughty has added six goals and 14 dishes. The Kings are without defenseman Alec Martinez who’s recovering from a wrist injury.
The Ducks blew a two-goal lead but still upset the WildThe Ducks stormed the front in Minnesota and scored a couple of first-period goals to take a commanding lead. Rickard Rakell scored his ninth goal of the season, while Cam Fowler netted his sixth goal this term. However, the Wild cut the deficit in the second period and tied the game after just two minutes of play in the third period. The clash went to goalless overtime, and John Gibson was the Ducks’ hero with a pair of saves in a shootout. Rickard Rakell and Maxime Comtois both scored to lift the Ducks over the Wild 3-2.
John Gibson had a good game against Minnesota, tallying 22 stops with a .917 save percentage. He should guard the cage against the Kings, and Gibson is 9-12-2 this season with a 2.82 GAA and a .910 save percentage. The Ducks are 13th in the league in goals against (2.94) and 23rd in penalty killing (77.9%). They scored five short-handed goals.
Center Ryan Getzlaf leads the way for the Ducks with 10 goals and 15 assists, and he has a plus-4 rating. Winger Jakob Silfverberg has scored 11 goals along with 10 assists, while center Rickard Rakell has added nine goals and 12 dishes. The Ducks are tied-25th in the league in goals per game (2.61), while their power-play percentage is the second-worst in the league (11.4%). Anaheim misses winger Nick Ritchie who’s sidelined with a knee injury.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Oddsshark.com, are: Los Angeles:
- 1-4 in the last five games overall
- 0-11 in the last 11 games on the road
- 6-2 in the last eight home games against Los Angeles
- 7-3 in the last ten home games against the Pacific Division