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Ducks, Kings open home-and-home series

by Pete Jensen
DUCKS (6-8-3) at KINGS (8-6-3)

: FS-W (HD)

Last 10: Anaheim 2-5-3; Los Angeles 3-5-2.

Season Series: These Pacific division rivals clash in their first of six meetings this season. Wednesday's game at Staples Center marks the opening leg of a home-and-home series that concludes on Thursday in Anaheim. Last season, the Ducks won four of six head-to-head matchups with their cross-town foes.

Big Story: Southern California will be treated to consecutive nights of spirited hockey as the Ducks and Kings open up a home-and-home set to kick off the next chapter of their "Freeway Faceoff" rivalry. Anaheim has lost seven of eight games heading into Wednesday's clash with the Kings, who have won two of three games to bounce back from a five-game losing skid.  

Team Scope:

Ducks: Anaheim's 4-1-0 start to the season is a distant memory, as the team's star-studded offense has posted a League-worst goals-per-game average (2.00) through 17 games this season. The Ducks have combined for only 14 goals in their current stretch of seven defeats in eight games.

"You try to put your finger on it and do different things to prepare," Bobby Ryan told "We've taken different approaches and nothing has worked. Twenty-five guys in the room have to say enough is enough and that hasn't happened yet. It's been embarrassing."

Kings: Los Angeles failed to score more than two goals in a game in each of their five straight losses from Oct. 29-Nov. 7. But after two recent offensive outbursts last week in wins over Nashville and Minnesota, the Kings are back on track heading into the final game of their four-game homestand against the Ducks.

"I really liked the focus coming into the game [Saturday]," said Kings coach Terry Murray. "The players came out right away with the kind of intensity and attitude of moving their feet, getting pucks north, and recovering pucks."

Who's Hot: After a 16-game goal-scoring drought to start the season, Cam Fowler notched a pair of goals in Anaheim's 3-2 loss to Minnesota on Sunday. … Anze Kopitar has tallied two goals and five assists for Los Angeles in his last five games.

Injury Report: Lubomir Visnovsky (broken finger) and George Parros (eye) are out, while Nick Bonino (knee) is listed as questionable. Bobby Ryan (flu-like symptoms) missed practice Tuesday and will be evaluated again on Wednesday. ... Dustin Penner (hand) has been placed on IR and will not play.

Stat Pack: The Kings' offense broke out for four goals in the second period of Saturday's win over the Wild. It was the first four-goal period for Los Angeles since scoring four unanswered third period goals in a 4-0 win over San Jose on Dec. 27, 2010.

Puck Drop: "We have to put some wins together now," Fowler told the Los Angeles Times. "It starts on Wednesday. We should be going into those two games like Stanley Cup Game 7. It's a big rivalry. Playing those guys back-to-back, home-and-home, it could get us going in the right way or it could set us back again. We have to be ready."

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