Anaheim, CA – The Anaheim Ducks finish off a back-to-back with a visit from the Los Angeles Kings tonight at Honda Center. Last season, the Kings dominated the season series winning five of the six games between the two rivals. This will be the first time the Ducks will face the defending Stanley Cup Champion Kings this season. Last night, the Ducks played a very good game in a win over the Minnesota Wild. The Kings last played on Thursday night, a shoot out loss to the Nashville Predators.
A key stat comparison that could very well decide the game tonight is 5-on-5 goals for/goals against. At this point in the season, the Ducks have been one of the best 5-on-5 teams in the league when it comes to goal differential. The Ducks are 5th in the league in this category while the Kings are 22nd. But, then again, special teams could also be a key component in this matchup. The Kings have the worst power play in the entire league, but the Ducks have one of the worst penalty kills in the entire league. The Kings are 5th in penalty killing and the Ducks are 10th on the power play.
So far this season, it hasn’t looked like the Kings offense has changed much from last season. They averaged just 2.29 goals per game last season, which was second worst in the entire league. Hey, they did improve their ranking among the league this season, they’re up to third worst, but are averaging only 1.83 goals per game. Also, goalie Jonathan Quick is not exactly playing up to last seasons standards. However, how could he continue his torrid pace from last season and the playoffs. This seasons he has a 2.43 GAA and only a .907 SV %.
The Kings scoring has been sporadic as their GPG suggests. Eight different players have scored a goal for the Kings, but only Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter have scored more than one goal. Surprisingly, Kyle Clifford leads the Kings in points with 1 goal and 4 assists for 5 points. Arguably the most surprising statistic about the Kings roster is that Dustin Brown and Mike Richards are their worst plus/minus players, both are -5 on the season. Brown and Richards are two of the best two-way forwards in the entire league, so that is quite surprising.
Our friends over at Rink Royalty, the Fansided website that covers the Kings, brought back a discussion between the Ducks and Kings color analysts. A conversation between the two about which team will win a cup first. Well, obviously, the Ducks win that argument via 2006-2007. However, the Kings did win the cup a few months after that conversation. The Freeway Faceoff hasn’t gotten too much attention across the league, but we all know how much these two teams hate each other. The Kings lead the all-time series at 50-47-11 and have won the last three. Hopefully, that will change tonight as the Ducks look to regain the overall lead in this bitter rivalry. Expect a goalie matchup between Quick and Jonas Hiller tonight.