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Ducks look to close in on division title against Kings

by Eric Goodman /

DUCKS (27-9-5) at KINGS (23-14-4)


Last 10: Anaheim 5-4-1; Los Angeles 6-2-2

Season series: This is the fourth and final meeting between these Pacific Division clubs. The Anaheim Ducks won both games at home and the Los Angeles Kings were victorious, 5-2, at Staples Center on Feb. 25.

Big story: Idle Anaheim claimed a Stanley Cup Playoff berth Friday, but the Ducks also would like to put some division distance between themselves and the second-place Kings with a win at Staples Center.

The Chicago Blackhawks are seven points ahead of the Ducks for points in the NHL, but there is still time left for Anaheim to catch up and claim its first Presidents' Trophy. The Kings are nine points behind the Ducks but maintain a four-game home winning streak against Anaheim.

Team Scope:

Ducks: Anaheim missed an opportunity to qualify for the playoffs on its own terms with a lackluster 4-1 loss at home to the last-place Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, and Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau made his team pay for it with practices on consecutive off days Thursday and Friday.

Captain Ryan Getzlaf returned to the lineup Wednesday after missing three straight games due to a right leg injury, but he couldn't help his team overcome a 3-0 deficit in the second period. The Ducks close out the season with five of their remaining seven games on the road.

"You can learn stuff from everything," Boudreau told the Ducks website regarding the extra practices. "I always believed that if you just throw it away and say 'Forget that game,' then it's the easy way out. [The team believes], 'All my mistakes are forgiven.' I want them to see their mistakes so we don't make them anymore."

Kings: Los Angeles accomplished something its division rival could not in that it defeated the Avalanche, 3-2 in the shootout, in its most-recent game Thursday. The win ended a two-game losing streak for the Kings; they remain undefeated at home in April with three straight victories.

Though the Kings have a lot of ground to make up if they hope to win the division, they are likely more focused on taking it one game at a time and making the playoffs by any means necessary. They sat in fourth place in the Western Conference as of Friday. Last season, Los Angeles was the eighth seed in the West but went on to win its first Stanley Cup.

Who's hot: Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth has three wins and a 1.60 goals-against average over his past five appearances. ... Kings center Jeff Carter has four goals and one assist over his past five games.

Injury report: Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler (upper body) sat out practice Thursday and Friday and is questionable. Forward Nick Bonino (lower body) skated for the fourth straight time Friday and Boudreau said he would consider using him by some point at the end of next week when the Ducks play back-to-back road games against the Edmonton Oilers. ... Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell (knee) has yet to play a game this season. Defenseman Matt Greene (back) is expected to resume skating soon.

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