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Preview: Ducks, Kings Renew Rivalry Tonight

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

The Ducks (9-6-3, 21 pts.) hit the halfway point of a season-high five-game homestand tonight against the LA Kings (9-9-1, 19 pts.) at Honda Center (5 p.m. PT, Prime Ticket/AM 830). Anaheim has won four straight games at home (outscoring opponents 16-5), and collected points in six of its past seven games overall (5-1-1, 11 pts.) and seven of the past nine (6-2-1, 13 pts.). The Ducks are 6-2-0 at Honda Center this season, ranking tied for eighth among NHL teams in home wins.

Tonight's contest represents the second game of the 2016-17 Freeway Faceoff. Anaheim has won 12 of the past 16 regular-season games vs. LA (12-2-2), while 10 of the past 15 Ducks-Kings games have been decided by one goal. The Ducks earned a 4-0 victory over the Kings in the first game of the season series held November 1 at Staples Center.

"I'm sure they'll be throwing everything they have at us," said Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler. "If that happened to us, and we were to lose 4-0, that's something we'd be reminded of heading into the game. We know they're looking for revenge."

Since the start of the 2010-11 season, the Ducks have scored 85 goals to the Kings' 73 (shootout goals excluded) in 31 games. In that time span, the two teams have posted 19-9-4 (Anaheim) and 13-13-6 (LA) records. All-time, the Ducks are 61-43-24 vs. the Kings, including a 33-14-15 mark at Honda Center. This five-game season series will feature an another game at Staples Center on Saturday, February 25 and two additional contests at Honda Center on Sunday, February 19 and Sunday, April 9.

It's always a playoff-type atmosphere inside Honda Center whenever these two clubs meet, and tonight will be no different. "The passion and energy is always there," said Fowler. "With the proximity of the teams, the hate for one another is always there. It's a challenge for us and we're looking forward to playing in front of our fans. It's a game that has a different atmosphere to it. It's going to be loud. As players, we feed off of that energy."

The Ducks are coming off their fourth consecutive home victory, a 3-2 final over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday. After falling behind, 2-0, the Ducks evened up the score with back-to-back goals 16 seconds apart in the second period. Ryan Kesler scored the eventual game-winner with 3:40 remaining, while Jonathan Bernier stopped 27-of-29 shots for his third consecutive victory.

LA, meanwhile, concludes the second-half of back-to-backs this evening. The Kings earned a 4-2 win over the Devils yesterday for their second victory in a row. Alec Martinez, Tanner Pearson, Jeff Carter and Jake Muzzin scored the goals for LA, which improved to 5-4-1 over its past 10 games.

"Our focus has to be about respecting them as the opposition," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "All the other stuff is window dressing. We have to perform to the level we're capable of for success. Because it's the Kings, it makes it special for the fans. Emotions will be running high."

Along with tonight's contest with LA, the homestand will feature visits by the New York Islanders (Tuesday) and Chicago Blackhawks (Friday). The Ducks will also play five consecutive home games from January 1-10, beginning with their first New Year's Day home game in franchise history vs. Philadelphia.

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