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Kings look to rebound from tough loss, host Ducks

by John Kreiser /

DUCKS (44-16-7) at KINGS (38-23-6)


Last 10: Anaheim 4-4-2; Los Angeles 8-2-0

Season series: The Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings are playing for the fourth time this season, but the first at Staples Center. The Kings won 3-2 in a shootout at Honda Center on Dec. 3; the Ducks won 2-1 at home Jan. 23 and 3-0 at Dodger Stadium two nights later as part of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.

Big story: The Kings seem destined to finish third in the Pacific Division; they're still 13 points behind the Ducks and San Jose Sharks despite an eight-game winning streak that ended with a loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday. But they can damage Anaheim's hopes of finishing first by beating their SoCal rival, which has struggled this month.

Team Scope:

Ducks: Anaheim took the ice for the second period of its game against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver on Friday knowing that anything less than a win would drop it out of first place because the Sharks had already won their game against the New York Islanders. The Ducks responded with their biggest period of the season, scoring six times and hanging on for a 6-4 victory.

"It was big," said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, who had two assists. "The guys showed a lot of character coming out and playing the way we did. Our goalie played well, and we chased their goalie. That was good for us."

Kings: Los Angeles appeared to be well on its way to a ninth straight victory Thursday night after jumping to a 2-0 lead against Toronto in the opener of a five-game homestand. But for the first time since last March 31, the Kings couldn't turn a two-goal lead into two points. Despite outshooting Toronto 41-29 and having 83 attempts to 43 for the Maple Leafs, L.A. came out on the wrong side of a 3-2 loss.

"We were a little sloppy to start the game, a little bit throughout the game," center Jarret Stoll told the media after practice Friday. "We've got to clean it up. We know we have to clean it up. It's just making sure we're all doing it collectively and over the course of the game, not just in spurts here and there."

Despite the loss, Stoll feels the Kings are going in the right direction

"We know we're going the right way, but we also know we can be better," he said. "At points in that winning streak, we weren't, I don't think, playing our best hockey. We were getting away with some things. We were getting lucky. We were getting some bounces and breaks. You need that, too - don't get me wrong - but sometimes you don't want to let things slip."

Who's hot: Corey Perry scored during Anaheim's big second period and has four goals in the Ducks' past four games. … Kings center Anze Kopitar had a goal Thursday, giving him 13 points in 10 games.

Injury report: The Ducks are still waiting for defenseman Stephane Robidas (broken leg); they acquired him at the NHL Trade Deadline although he hasn't played since November. … Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick and forward Dustin Brown skipped practice Friday; coach Darryl Sutter said both players were ill.

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