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Kings, Ducks set to renew rivalry

by Eric Goodman
KINGS (13-9-0) at DUCKS (11-11-3)
TV -- FS-W (HD), KDOC (HD)

Last 10 -- Los Angeles 4-6-0; Anaheim 4-4-2

Season series -- This is the first of six regular-season meetings between these Pacific Division rivals. The Kings took the 2009-10 season series with a 4-1-1 record.

Big Story -- The Kings will try to avoid a season-high fourth striaght loss as they face a struggling Ducks team that had lost six straight before a solid 6-4 win at the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday. Los Angeles has also lost five of its last seven on the road, so it will look to turn its fortunes around with a visit to Anaheim.

Team Scope:
Kings -- Los Angeles began the month of November with four straight wins, which extended its then winning streak to six in a row, dating from Oct. 28 to Nov. 13. However, the Kings have dropped six of seven games since then and only totaled 16 goals over that span when compared to 21 during the winning streak.

The Kings have also been outscored 9-4 during their current three-game losing streak and are now in 9th place in the Western Conference. To get an idea of how tight the West is this season, L.A. sat atop the entire conference following its most recent win over the Boston Bruins on Nov. 20th.

"Scoring is something we've got to make it happen, we have to pay a price in order to score sometimes," coach Terry Murray told the team's web site Saturday.

Ducks -- While Anaheim has lost six of its last seven, it is far from out of the race in the West. Their 25 points has the Ducks at only 11th place in the conference, but a win over the Kings Monday can catapult them right back into the playoff picture. The Coyotes and Avalanche are tied for the Pacific Division lead with only 27 points.

A sign that the offense is finally turning it around was found on Saturday as the Ducks' top line of Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf exploded for 10 points in a big win at Glendale, AZ. The penalty killing unit also held its own, limiting the Coyotes to only one power-play tally out of six chances.

"I would say our penalty killing bailed us out," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said after the game, "and then our big guys that get paid all the money scored some goals for us."

Who's Hot -- For the Kings, Justin Williams had a three-game points streak snapped on Saturday. Bobby Ryan notched a hat trick Saturday and now has five goals over his last four games for the Ducks.

Injury Report -- The Kings have two skaters on injured reserve: Alex Ponikarovsky (broken finger) is out for at least another week, while while Willie Mitchell (broken left wrist) will be out until at least mid-December. ... For the Ducks, Teemu Selanne remains day-to-day with a groin injury. Forwards Jason Jaffray (knee), Matt Beleskey (concussion) and Kyle Chipchura (concussion) are all on injured reserve for Anaheim, as is Joffrey Lupul (back) who could return for his season debut at some point in early December.

Stat Pack -- Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller is 5-2-0 with a 1.85 goals-against average at home against Los Angeles.

Puck Drop -- In their last five losses, the Kings managed a respectable 1.8 goal differential. However, a close loss won't net you two points in the standings and the Kings know they need to continue grinding it out to get themselves back in the win column.

"We haven’t been blown out of games, we’ve been in games but we just can’t get over this little hump we’re on," said defenseman Rob Scuderi following Saturday's loss. "If we stick with it, don’t panic and stick together, I think we’ll be a better team because of it, but we just need to keep our heads about us.''
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