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Preview: Ducks Look to Rebound Tonight vs. Kings

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

The Ducks (30-19-10, 70 pts.) wrap up a brief two-game homestand with the third contest of the 2016-17 Freeway Faceoff against the LA Kings (28-25-4, 60 pts.) tonight at Honda Center (6 p.m. PT, Prime Ticket/AM 830). Of Anaheim's 23 remaining regular-season games, 14 will be played at Honda Center and nine will take place on the road. The Ducks' 14 home games are tied for the fourth-most in the league, behind only Carolina (16), LA (15) and Tampa Bay (15). The club's final road schedule is broken down with three games in the Pacific Time Zone, three in the Mountain and three in the Central. This evening represents the second of only three February home games for the Ducks and the opening contest of Anaheim's 11th set of back-to-back games this season. The Ducks will conclude their back-to-back set tomorrow against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena (6 p.m. PT).

Tonight's matchup represents the halfway point of the five-game Freeway Faceoff. Anaheim has won 12 of the last 17 regular-season games vs. LA (12-3-2), while 11 of the last 16 Ducks-Kings games have been decided by one goal. Since the start of the 2010-11 season, the Ducks have scored 87 goals to the Kings' 76 (shootout goals excluded) in 32 games. In that time span, the two teams have posted 19-10-4 (Anaheim) and 14-13-6 (Los Angeles) records. All-time, the Ducks are 61-44-24 vs. the Kings, including a 33-15-15 mark at Honda Center. This five-game season series will resume at Staples Center next Saturday (1 p.m. PT) before concluding at Honda Center on Sunday, April 9 (5:30 p.m. PT).

Mired in a scoring drought and a slumping power play, the Ducks dedicated a good chunk of practice yesterday to special teams and battle drills. Goals have been rare as of late for the Ducks, who haven't scored more than a single goal in three of the last five games. (One of them happened to be a 1-0 victory at Minnesota).

"When you're going through rough stretches, usually what you resort back to is defensive-zone coverage, special teams and your forecheck," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "Those are the things you try to focus on. If you're neat and tidy in the defensive zone, it usually leads to more offensive-zone time. We've been negligent in some areas."

It showed two nights ago when the Ducks gift-wrapped two of Florida's goals in the second period of an eventual 4-1 loss to the Panthers. "We need to start playing like a team and helping each other out," said Hampus Lindholm. "We can't lose games the way we lost the other night. We need to play as a unit. That's how we wear teams down. We're all looking at ourselves in the mirror. We have to go out and execute."

Asked if playing the rival Kings will get the competitive juices flowing, Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said the proof will be displayed on the ice. "It's a matter of showing up to play," he said. "We can talk about it all we want, but when it comes down to it we have to play with that passion and fire from the drop of the puck."

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