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Kings look to deny Fasth a record-tying win

by Curtis Zupke

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The puns have already been run into the ground: Quick vs. Fasth. But it’s an intriguing matchup regardless of playful headlines.

Jonathan Quick is expected to square off against counterpart Viktor Fasth when the Los Angeles Kings host the rival Anaheim Ducks on Monday night at Staples Center.

It will be the Kings' first look at Fasth, who at 8-0-0 is trying to match Ray Emery in 2005 for the longest winning streak to start an NHL career. The Ducks beat the Kings, 7-4, in a wild affair Feb. 2, and Jonas Hiller was in net for Anaheim.

For the Kings, there is some unknown element to Fasth outside of game film.

"He seems like a big guy," Jeff Carter said. "He kind of reminds me of [Henrik] Lundqvist [of the New York Rangers] a little bit where he's big and he's really square up top, and covers a lot of the net. It's hard to say when you haven't played against him. But he's playing well right now, and obviously carrying the load for them. We're going to have to test him early and see what he's got, I guess."

Fasth will make his first appearance since Feb. 16 because of an unheard of five-day break for Anaheim. It would also be his first start since he signed a two-year, $5.8 million contract extension.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter said he's watched as much film as he can on the previously unknown Fasth, 30, who toiled in lower-level Swedish leagues until 27.

"Experienced goalie," Sutter said. "He doesn't give up bad goals. He's not a kid. He's a good guy that controls rebounds, [he's] 30 years old. He's got international experience. Good goalie."

New rivalry dynamic?: The Southern California rivalry historically hasn't been much of one, but this shapes up as an interesting dynamic with the surging Ducks against the improved, defending Stanley Cup champions.

Anaheim is going for a franchise-record tying seventh straight victory, while Los Angeles has won five of six and allowed only one goal in each of those wins. It's also a contrast in styles with the grinding Kings against the more open and remarkably well-balanced Ducks, who have 10 players with four or more goals.

Both teams have size up front with Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar. Sutter said that will be critical.

"Getzlaf-Perry, Kopitar-Brown -- go down the list," Sutter said. "It's good matchups. Fun matchups."

Drew Doughty didn't hide his feelings when he told the Los Angeles Times that, "To see them up there, a team in our division, a team that I think all of us in here feel for sure that we're a better team than them, that kind of makes us frustrated and not happy with the way our season's gone so far."


Matt BeleskeyRyan GetzlafCorey Perry

Bobby RyanPeter HollandTeemu Selanne

Andrew CoglianoSaku KoivuDaniel Winnik

Patrick MaroonNick BoninoKyle Palmieri

Sheldon SourayFrancois Beauchemin

Cam FowlerBryan Allen

Luca SbisaToni Lydman

Viktor Fasth

Jonas Hiller

Beauchemin recorded a career-high four points, all assists, on Sunday. His 11 points through 16 games is the best start to his career.

Coach Bruce Boudreau put Holland back at second line center but that could change again. Lydman sat out Sunday, as is the case in back-to-back situations this season, so he could return to the lineup.


Dustin BrownAnze KopitarJustin Williams

Trevor LewisMike RichardsJeff Carter

Dwight KingJarret StollDustin Penner

Kyle CliffordColin FraserJordan Nolan

Keaton EllerbyDrew Doughty

Rob ScuderiSlava Voynov

Jake MuzzinDavis Drewiske

Jonathan Quick

Jonathan Bernier

Quick was pulled when he allowed two goals on three shots against Anaheim on Feb. 2, but he is 6-1-2 with a 1.95 goals-against average at home against the Ducks.

Sutter promoted Lewis to the second line on Feb. 19 "just to see how it goes" and the blue-collar Lewis has responded with two goals and two assists in his past three games. Lewis is typically a defensive forward -- Sutter's kind of player.

"When [Lewis] is on his game, he's using his speed on the forecheck, he's strong on the wall, he's a sound defensive guy," Sutter said. "And he cares. He cares how he plays. I learned last year when I came here, there was a lot of critical opinions of [Lewis]. But I had a different view of him. I like those things in his game, those parts of his game are about the compete part of it. So it's about getting some offense out of him. If he's a team-minute player, he's got to be more than a penalty killer. We need some production … and right now we're getting that."

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