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Preview: Ducks Open Five-Game Homestand Against Division-Leading Kings

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

Get comfortable because the Ducks are going to be home for a while. Anaheim (6-6-2, 14 points) opens its first of two season-high five-game homestands tonight against the Pacific Division-leading LA Kings (10-2-2, 22 points) at Honda Center. (7 p.m. PT, TV: NBCSN, Radio: AM 830). The Ducks are in the midst of playing nine of 11 games at Honda Center and will remain in California through Saturday, November 25.

The Ducks are coming off a 2-1 shootout loss on Saturday against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center and have gone winless in their past three games (0-2-1, 1 point). Corey Perry scored the club's lone goal in his 900th career NHL game (all with the Ducks) on a milestone evening that also included Andrew Cogliano's 800th consecutive game since the start of his career, Derek Grant's 100th career NHL game and Randy Carlyle's 800th game behind the bench as an NHL head coach (612 with Anaheim). Ryan Miller made his second start of the season, turning aside 44-of-45 shots.

Tonight's matchup opens a five-game Freeway Faceoff and represents the 133rd all-time regular-season meeting between the Ducks and Kings. The Ducks hold an all-time mark of 63-45-24 against their crosstown rivals, including a 35-15-15 mark at Honda Center. Anaheim has gone 14-4-2 in the last 20 regular-season games against the Kings, while 13 of the past 19 have been decided by one goal. Perry leads active Ducks in career scoring against LA with 45 points (23g/22a) in 65 games. This is the first of three that will be played in Anaheim and one of two in the month of November (also November 25 at STAPLES Center).

"Ducks-Kings will be good for us right now," said defenseman Kevin Bieksa. "It's an emotional game. Both teams usually get up for it. This team plays better when we're emotional. It's no secret. The Kings are playing good hockey right now. Little bit of a different team with the new coaching staff. Little bit more offensive puck possession. We'll have our work cut out for us."

Under head coach John Stevens, the Kings have tied a franchise record for the most points through their first 14 games. Currently sitting atop the Pacific and one point behind St. Louis for the top spot in the Western Conference, the Kings went 6-0-1 out of the gates tying their longest streak to start a season without a regulation loss in franchise history. LA has six players with 10 points or more including Drew Doughty (10 points, 3g/7a), Adrian Kempe (10 points, 6g/4a), Dustin Brown (13 points, 6g/7a) and Anze Kopitar (17 points, 7g/10a).

"The team they selected is more skill-oriented as opposed to the old teams when you knew there were going to be a lot of board battles, rimmed pucks, big bodies and always finishing their checks," said Bieksa. "Different style of game, but there are a lot of teams that play that style now, so we'll be ready for them."

Jonathan Quick has been dominant in net and enters tonight's game with an 8-2-1 record, 1.99 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in 11 games. Furthermore, the Kings lead the NHL in average goals-against per game (2.21), rank second overall in total goals against (31) and lead the league in penalty kill percentage (91.8%).

"You can't play this game without emotion," said Carlyle. "There is a fire that burns inside to compete. When you play oppositions you see on a regular basis, and they're your biggest rival, it's natural it's going to come out. We have to make sure we contain the emotions to a level where we're doing the right things. You play with emotion and you initiate, but you don't retaliate."

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