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Preview: Ducks Begin Six-Game Road Trip, Close Out Back to Back Tonight

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

LOS ANGELES -- The Ducks (10-9-3, 23 points) begin a six-game road trip and finish off their fourth set of back-to-backs tonight against the LA Kings (12-8-3, 27 points) at STAPLES Center (7:30 p.m., TV: KCOP-13, Radio: AM 830). This marks Anaheim's fifth game in the past seven days, the only such stretch of the season (2-2 thus far). The Ducks are 4-2-1 in back-to-backs this season, including a 2-0-1 mark in the second game.

This six-game road trip, which features games against the Kings, Blackhawks, Blues, Blue Jackets, Predators and Golden Knights, matches a season high in terms of consecutive games played away from Honda Center. The Ducks will also embark on a six-game road trip from December 14-23 with games against the Blues, Capitals, Devils, Rangers, Islanders and Penguins.

"The old cliché is one game at a time," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "It's more difficult to perform on the road, but there are other ways. When you play at home for extended periods of time, you find you get stale because you're into a routine of the same thing. On the road, you're always together with your teammates. There are team dinners and you're on the plane. There is a lot more camaraderie and bonding. To have a successful road trip, we always deem the first one as the most important one. It can set you up for a decent trip."

This marks the second game of the 2017-18 Freeway Faceoff and the first matchup in LA. The Ducks have gone 14-4-3 in the last 21 regular-season games against the Kings, while 14 of the last 20 have been decided by one goal. Anaheim enters tonight's game with a 63-45-25 all-time record against LA, including a 27-29-9 mark on the road. The series opener on November 7 at Honda Center saw the Kings skate away with a 4-3 overtime victory despite two separate two-goal leads for Anaheim. The five-game season series will continue with games on Saturday, January 13 in LA before shifting to Anaheim on Friday, January 19 and Friday, March 30. Corey Perry leads active Ducks in career scoring against the Kings with 45 points (23g/22a) in 66 games.

The Ducks are hoping for a better result tonight than they've had over their previous two games. After reeling off a season-high three-game winning streak, the Ducks have lost their past two games, including a 4-1 defeat yesterday at home against the Winnipeg Jets. Francois Beauchemin scored the lone goal - his first as a Duck since April 1, 2015 - and Mike Liambas recorded his first career NHL point in his fifth career game. John Gibson went the distance in goal, but Ryan Miller could get the start tonight. Miller, who hasn't played since November 9 due to injury, is 2-0-2 with a 1.88 goals-against average and .943 save percentage in four games this season. Miller served as Gibson's backup yesterday.

The Kings are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss against the Arizona Coyotes last night at Gila River Arena. Backup goaltender Darcy Kuemper took the loss despite making 30 saves and has yet to lose in regulation in five starts (3-0-2, 1.84 GAA, .937 SV%). No. 1 goaltender Jonathan Quick (9-8-1, 2.44 GAA, .926 SV%) is expected to get the start tonight. After getting off to a blazing start, the Kings have struggled as of late, winning just twice over their past 10 games (2-6-2). Despite their slump, the Kings are two points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division.

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