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Kings-Mighty Ducks Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Los Angeles Kings (40-31-5) at Anaheim Mighty Ducks (39-23-12).

TIME: Tuesday, 10:30 p.m. EDT.

In his first full season as a starter, goaltender Mathieu Garon continues to be a big factor down the stretch as the Kings look to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Garon will try to become the first Kings goaltender to post three consecutive shutouts when Los Angeles meets the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in a key clash of Pacific Division rivals.

With 85 points, Los Angeles is tied with San Jose for ninth place in the Western Conference, two points behind Vancouver for the eighth and final playoff spot. Los Angeles will host San Jose on Thursday for the final time in the regular season.

On Monday, Garon helped the Kings post back-to-back shutouts for the first time since Felix Potvin and Jamie Storr from Dec. 10-11, 2002. Garon turned aside 23 shots in a 1-0 victory over the Canucks.

Garon, in his first season with Los Angeles after spending his entire NHL career with Montreal, had 27 saves Saturday in a 1-0 win over Pacific Division-leading Dallas.

He had given up at least four goals in seven of eight starts before his shutout string.

"We're close to it, but I don't want to focus on the other teams," Garon said of the Kings' playoff hopes. "We've got six more games, and we need those points. That's what we have to be focused on - our own game."

In his last two starts against the Ducks, however, Garon has struggled.

He gave up five goals on 21 shots in just over 24 minutes during a 6-2 loss on Jan. 18 in Los Angeles. Two nights later, Garon made 41 saves, but gave up Scott Niedermayer's goal 1:48 into overtime in a 4-3 loss.

Anaheim has 90 points, tied with Colorado for fifth place in the West. The Ducks and Avalanche are two points ahead of seventh-place Edmonton and three ahead of Vancouver.

Anaheim has opened a four-game homestand with a pair of big wins. After handing Dallas its first shootout loss in 12 games on Friday, the Ducks got two goals apiece from Teemu Selanne and Samuel Pahlsson in a 6-2 win Sunday over the Canucks.

"I think we have played like a playoff team for some time," said Selanne, who has seven goals and 11 assists in his last nine games. "We can still do better. The key thing right now is to look forward, not behind you."

Ducks center Andy McDonald needs one goal to reach 30 for the first time in his career. He has two goals and eight assists in six games against the Kings this season, recording at least one point in each meeting.

Anaheim is looking to win three straight over Los Angeles at the Arrowhead Pond for the first time since a six-game run from April 18, 1998-March 18, 1999.

STANDINGS: Kings - 85 points, 3rd place (tied), 18 PB, Pacific Division. Mighty Ducks - 90 points, 2nd place, 13 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Kings - Mark Parrish, 28 goals; Lubomir Visnovsky, 49 assists and 66 points; Sean Avery, 253 PIM. Mighty Ducks - Selanne, 36 goals and 80 points; Scott Niedermayer, 48 assists; Todd Fedoruk, 162 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Kings - Power play: 14.7 percent (74 for 503), 28th in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.0 percent (357 for 452), 28th. Mighty Ducks - Power play: 17.7 percent (76 for 430), 16th. Penalty killing: 84.0 percent (388 for 462), 9th.

GOALTENDERS: Kings - Garon (31-22-3, 3 SO, 3.12 GAA); Jason LaBarbera (9-9-2, 3.17). Mighty Ducks - Jean-Sebastien Giguere (26-12-11, 2, 2.61); Ilya Bryzgalov (13-11-1, 1, 2.53).


LAST MEETING: Jan. 30; Ducks, 4-3 (OT). At Anaheim, Calif., Selanne scored twice to become the 70th player in NHL history with 1,000 points.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Kings - 15-19-4 on the road; Mighty Ducks - 24-9-5 at home.

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