May 12, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty (8) and goalie Jonathan Quick (32) defend the goal against Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry (10) in game five of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Game 7 Preview: Los Angeles Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks

Everyone expected a long series between these two in-state rivals and here we are at Game 7. It’s been a close match-up from the beginning and now the teams will have to put everything on the table to see who wins the battle for SoCal this year.

Series tied 3-3

Last Game: 2-1 Kings

Game starts at 6:00 p.m.

The Kings had the Ducks’ number in Game 6, getting off to an early lead and holding on to the end. The Ducks’ top scorers were largely ineffective as the Kings’ defense kept them along the walls and away from the front of the net. The Kings established a physical game early and the Ducks failed to respond. Now faced with a Game 7, both teams are looking to establish their game early and come out with a victory at Honda Center.

Keys to the Game

Ducks

1. Get to the Dirty Areas – Consider Game 5 a fluke in the sense that Jonathan Quick let in four goals, and four pretty clean-cut goals as well.  Goals are goals and that’s especially true in this series.  The Ducks need to attack the net and generate offense by fighting hard to get to the front of the net..  They wont be highlight-reel goals, but they will win the game.

2. Forecheck – In the last game, the Ducks were able to get the puck deep, but their forecheck couldn’t keep the puck in the zone for very long. The Kings’ defense got the puck quickly and cleared it out of the zone.  The Ducks will need to be strong on the forecheck if they want to get any sort of sustained pressure established.

Kings

1. Sticking to the Game Plan – In this series, the winning team often wins because they stick to their game plan and the opponent doesn’t.  The Kings win when they play a defense first game and the Ducks win when they generate a lot of sustained pressure in the offensive zone.  The Kings played their game in Game 6 and will have to do so again to win Game 7.

2. Minimize Turnovers – Most of the Ducks’ goals in the past few games have come off of bad turnovers by the Kings’ defense.  Puck control is a big part of their game and they’ll have to stay on top of it if they want to stifle the Ducks’ offense.

Players to Watch

Ducks

The Twins (Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry) – This tandem has been the go-to pairing, when faced with adverse situations.  Getzlaf is nominated for so many trophies this year because of his ability to put the team on his back and carry them through tough obstacles.  He will need to be at his best in all facets of the game to help his team pull through this Game 7.

Perry has not been the Perry we’ve all come to love in this series.  Sure, he’s got the troll parts of his game going, but he hasn’t been playing to the best of his offensive abilities.  In the last five games he has only three points (1-2=3) and has a -3 rating.  Perry needs to produce some better offense to win game 7.

Kings

Jonathan Quick – Quick will be looking to play his absolute best in Game 7 and Quick at his best is not what the Ducks want to see.  He shut the door against San Jose in their Game 7 and could be the difference maker in this one too.

Drew Doughty – I say Doughty, but really it’s more representative of the Kings’ defense as a whole.  They have been dangerous by establishing a physical presence in the defensive zone and generating offense from the point.  Jake Muzzin scored the first goal in the last game by sneaking down from his point, and Matt Greene was a monster in the defensive zone, laying down some big hits.  Look for more of the same in Game 7.

Starting Goaltenders

Ducks – John Gibson 2-1  1.69 GAA  .946 SV% (unconfirmed)

Kings – Jonathan Quick  7-6  2.78 GAA  .914 SV% (unconfirmed)

The battle for SoCal comes down to one game.  Who will emerge victorious is anyone’s guess.  This has been a close series and Game 7 will be the closest one yet.

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Tags: 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs Anaheim Ducks

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