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Kings host Ducks in Round 2 of Freeway Faceoff

by John Kreiser

DUCKS (21-19-7) at KINGS (25-18-3)

Last 10 -- Anaheim 6-4-0; Los Angeles 3-7-0

Season series -- Surprisingly, this is only the second edition of the "Freeway Faceoff" this season. The Kings won 4-3 at Anaheim on Dec. 1. The teams meet twice in a four-day span in early February, and twice in three days in early April. The Kings have won the last three meetings.

Big story -- Southern California's NHL entries come into the game going in opposite directions. The Ducks won their fifth in a row on Wednesday with a 4-3 home win over the Boston Bruins. Los Angeles has started a seven-game homestand with three consecutive one-goal defeats -- the latest a 2-1 loss to San Jose on Monday.

Team Scope:

Ducks -- Jonas Hiller was named as the NHL's Second Star for the week of Jan. 4-10, and he showed no signs of slowing up this week. The Swiss goaltender stopped 27 shots -- including a number of point-blank chances -- to help the Ducks rally for the win over Boston.

The Ducks' ability to come back after trailing 3-2 after two periods was what Hiller liked best about the win.

"It shows that we've gained some confidence over the last couple of games," Hiller said. "We're not giving up and the team is not falling apart. Our guys are stepping up. We know we have to play 60 minutes at our best to have a chance. The next time is tomorrow night."

Kings -- The Kings' offense has gone cold. Los Angeles is 3-7-0 in its last 10 games, and all seven losses were by one goal. The slump has sent coach Terry Murray back to the videotape to see if he can find answers for the slump.

So what did you find, Terry?

"These losses have forced me to do some things in my own reviews," he told LAKings Insider. "I went back yesterday and I watched games 1 through 22, O-zone play only, cycles. … There are certain things that really jump off the screen at you, when you're able to go through those clips repetitively. I can see a big difference in O-zone play, what we kind of got away from.

"When I reviewed the San Jose game, I was thinking, 'Wow, there's just too much play that's happening behind the net, below the goal line, and not enough from above.' So that really got my attention."

Who's hot -- Hiller has won all five starts during Anaheim's winning streak, allowing just nine goals. … L.A.'s Anze Kopitar is 2-3-5 in his last five games. Second-year defenseman Drew Doughty has 7 points, all assists, in five games.

Injury report -- The Ducks suffered a major loss on Wednesday when Teemu Selanne left in the third period with what the team said afterward was a broken jaw. Joffrey Lupul (leg) and George Parros (hand) are on injured reserve. … Davis Drewiske (shoulder), Justin Williams (ankle) and Andrei Loktionov (shoulder) are on IR for Los Angeles.

Stat pack -- Hiller has stopped 152 of 161 shots in the Ducks' five-game winning streak. … Los Angeles was 12-1-3 in its first 16 one-goal games, but is just 1-7-0 in its last eight.

Puck drop -- The Ducks are still 12th in the West, but their surge has carried them within four points of eighth-place Los Angeles. They're looking forward to a chance to cut that margin in half against a Kings team that's having trouble putting the puck in the net.

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