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Posted On Saturday, 05.17.2014 / 2:04 AM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks-Kings series blog

Gibson's Game 7 turns into a nightmare

ANAHEIM -- For the second time in his NHL coaching career, Bruce Boudreau had to pull his prized young goaltender in a Game 7.

John Gibson became a major storyline in the first Freeway Series when he was recalled from the American Hockey League and won two straight games to help the Anaheim Ducks forge a lead against the Los Angeles Kings.

But the 20-year-old did not have a Game 7 to remember. Boudreau pulled him early in the second period after allowing four goals on 18 shots in a 6-2 loss at Honda Center on Friday.

Posted On Friday, 05.16.2014 / 2:44 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - Ducks-Kings series blog

Ducks shuffle lines for Game 7 against Kings

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau is known for frequently tweaking his line combinations, and it appears he will try another twist, at least to start Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Los Angeles Kings on Friday at Honda Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Left wing Daniel Winnik skated on the third line with center Mathieu Perreault and Teemu Selanne at the morning skate. Left wing Patrick Maroon usually has been with Perreault and Selanne, and the trio thrived earlier in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but Maroon skated on the fourth line with center Nick Bonino and right wing Kyle Palmieri.

Winnik said he's played with Perreault and Selanne about two or three times all season. It could last a shift or two, but Boudreau pointed out that Maroon, Bonino and Palmieri were a good line for the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League.

"They've had moments up here that have been very good," Boudreau said. "So [I'm] just trying to create a little bit of chemistry. I think, one [Winnik is] a better skater than [Maroon] and might be able to be a little bit better defensively on that line."

Posted On Thursday, 05.15.2014 / 8:12 PM

By Staff -  / - Ducks-Kings series blog

Kings forward Williams thrives in Game 7s

Maybe Justin Williams is so good in Game 7 because the Los Angeles Kings forward has been practicing for them since he was a kid.

"Of course it's Game 7 and it's usually the Stanley Cup Final too," Williams said Thursday of his childhood imaginations. "It's the same thing with any other sport. It's the last second of the game and buzzer is coming down, it's the ninth inning, two outs, football game, fourth quarter or last play. It's everything. It's you or them, and this is what you relish as a kid, coming out on top."

Williams will play the sixth Game 7 of his NHL career on Friday when the Kings and Anaheim Ducks compete at Honda Center to decide their Western Conference Second Round series (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Williams is 5-0 with 10 points (five goals) in his previous Game 7s of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He has two game-winning goals.

Posted On Thursday, 05.15.2014 / 2:24 AM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - Ducks-Kings series blog

Ducks' Gibson on Lewis goal: 'It happens'

LOS ANGELES -- Anaheim Ducks rookie goalie John Gibson isn't known for being overly talkative, and he was certainly concise when asked about the first bad goal of his Stanley Cup Playoffs career.

With Anaheim trailing 1-0 in the second period of Game 6 of this Western Conference Second Round series, Los Angeles Kings forward Trevor Lewis skated down left wing and wristed a harmless, low shot that beat Gibson under the pads at 14:04.

The Kings won 2-1 to force Game 7 on Friday at Honda Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Gibson recovered after what could have been a confidence-blowing goal. Asked about resetting after the goal, Gibson said, "Yeah, it was just one shot. Missed it. It happens."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 3:58 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks-Kings series blog

Kings coach Sutter praises Gaborik's contributions

LOS ANGELES -- Marian Gaborik has been seen as a divisive player during his 13 years in the NHL.

At times an electric scorer at a level few can match, and at times perceived as a frustrating player because of inconsistency or injury, there have always seemed to be a wide range of opinions about Gaborik.

Darryl Sutter doesn't seem like a guy who is too worried about things like that, and his experiences coaching Gaborik since he joined the Los Angeles Kings before the NHL Trade Deadline this season seem to reinforce that.

"Zero," Sutter said when asked what he had to adjust in Gaborik's game. "I talked to [Gaborik] when we got him in Winnipeg. I told him he was playing with [Anze Kopitar] and I'm not going to go out of my way to change the way he plays. Just give him a basic guideline. I said a couple days after we got him his hockey IQ is off the charts, so he can adjust in a hurry. He's been an easy guy, quite honest, to deal with."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 3:39 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - Ducks-Kings series blog

Vatanen providing Ducks with spark from blue line

LOS ANGELES -- Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen saw his hockey cards come to life when he arrived in Anaheim. There across the dressing room were his Finnish idols, right wing Teemu Selanne and center Saku Koivu. Vatanen collected Selanne's card growing up in Finland.

"Of course it was a special moment for me," Vatanen said. "I saw those guys, who I've been watching all my young life, and try to learn from them. It was fun. They're good guys and I like to hang out with them. It's pretty special."

Selanne, an avid car collector, gave Vatanen a Mercedes-Benz to drive around town. On the ice, he and Koivu helped Vatanen assimilate to the Ducks.

"Every day when I got here, I didn't understand what the coaches were saying," Vatanen said. "I got to ask them and speak my own language."

Posted On Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 7:35 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - Ducks-Kings series blog

Ducks aim to extend season for Koivu, Selanne

ANAHEIM -- There's no denying the excitement that the young core of the Anaheim Ducks has generated the past few days. Between rookie goalie John Gibson, left wing Devante Smith-Pelly and defenseman Sami Vatanen, the future looks very bright.

But the time is now for veteran forwards Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, who acknowledged Tuesday what it would mean to eliminate the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Second Round. Anaheim leads the best-of-7 series 3-2 and can close it out in Game 6 on Wednesday at Staples Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Posted On Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 6:06 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks-Kings series blog

Kings face Game 6 'not like we're panicking'

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- By the time the Los Angeles Kings began Game 4 of their Western Conference First Round series against the San Jose Sharks, the players and coach Darryl Sutter felt they were already playing better, and by sticking to the process, the results followed.

Sutter was adamant the Kings were not as bad as the score indicated in Game 2 against the Sharks (7-2), and several players have said they felt the Kings were the better team in a Game 3 overtime loss (4-3).

The Kings are in a familiar spot during their Western Conference Second Round series with the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks have won three straight, and the Kings will face elimination from the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs for a fifth time Wednesday at Staples Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

The plan will be the same: Make minor adjustments and trust the process.

Posted On Monday, 05.12.2014 / 9:57 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - Ducks-Kings series blog

Nolan in, Clifford out for Kings in Game 5

ANAHEIM -- Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter didn't hint at any line adjustments Monday morning, but it appears he will change them up against the Anaheim Ducks for Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round series at Honda Center (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Kings captain Dustin Brown skated with center Anze Kopitar and forward Marian Gaborik in warm-ups. It also appears that forward Jordan Nolan will be in the Los Angeles lineup in favor of Kyle Clifford and play on the fourth line with center Mike Richards and forward Dwight King.

Posted On Monday, 05.12.2014 / 4:23 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - Ducks-Kings series blog

Ducks' Perreault relieved to get back in lineup

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks center Mathieu Perreault is expected to return to the lineup for Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round series against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night at Honda Center (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS). The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2.

Perreault missed Game 4 with a lower-body injury, but he said it pained him more to have to watch the game.

"It is so hard," Perreault said. "It gets me so nervous. When you play, it's not quite like that, but when you're watching, I can't sit down. I start walking around because I get so nervous. I'd rather be out there playing than watching, that's for sure."

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