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Los Angeles Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks @NHLdotcom
Kings-Mighty Ducks Preview

GAME: Los Angeles Kings (25-17-15-7) at Anaheim Mighty Ducks (22-26-9-8).

TIME: Sunday, 4 p.m. EST.

The Anaheim Mighty Ducks are on the verge of going from the penthouse to the outhouse in less than a year.

In danger of missing the playoffs one season after reaching the Stanley Cup finals, the Ducks will try to rebound from a tight loss when they conclude a home-and-home set with the visiting Los Angeles Kings.

Anaheim, which lost in seven games to New Jersey in last season's finals, sits nine points behind Calgary in the race for the final playoff berth in the Western Conference with 17 games to play.

The Ducks blew an opportunity to make up ground on idle Calgary with Saturday's 2-1 loss to Los Angeles at Staples Center. Luc Robitaille had a goal and an assist for the Kings.

"We've got the standings posted in our dressing room. We're not stupid. We can see we needed these two," said Mighty Ducks rookie Joffrey Lupul, who scored Saturday. "It's still not done by any means. We've got to win (Sunday) and put something together.

"We're just making it tougher and tougher on ourselves, especially when this is one of the teams we're chasing. But the mood in here can't stay down for long because we're going at it again in less than 24 hours."

Robitaille said he expects the Ducks to be an even tougher foe the second time around.

"I don't know if we put them away, I wouldn't say that," Robitaille said when asked if Saturday's win was the final blow to the Ducks' postseason hopes. "I expect their best game (Sunday), but we can't afford to lose any games or give up any points because it's too tight a race."

The Kings and Ducks have never qualified for the playoffs in the same season. The last time neither made it was 1996.

"This was just kind of a mirror image of what it would be like if the Kings and Ducks were ever to play each other in a playoff series," Los Angeles coach Andy Murray said.

"It would be exciting and great for hockey, because these games have playoff-type intensity. And now that we're getting down to the end of the season, the intensity level is very high."

Rookie defenseman Tomas Zizka also scored and Cristobal Huet made 29 saves for the Kings, 26-21-11 all-time against the Ducks and 3-0-1 in their last four meetings.

The Kings sit in seventh place in the West, two points ahead of Calgary and one behind Nashville and Dallas.

STANDINGS: Kings - 72 points, 3rd place, 7 PB, Pacific Division. Mighty Ducks - 61 points, 4th place, 18 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Kings - Alexander Frolov, 20 goals; Jozef Stumpel, 26 assists; Frolov, Robitaille and Ziggy Palffy, 41 points; Sean Avery, 220 PIM. Mighty Ducks - Sergei Fedorov, 21 goals, 30 assists and 51 points; Garrett Burnett, 112 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb, 27): Kings - Power play: 14.1 percent (237 for 276), 25th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.5 percent (223 for 277), 29th. Mighty Ducks - Power play: 16.7 percent (42 for 251), 13th. Penalty killing: 84.6 percent (230 for 272), 12th (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Kings - Huet (7-7-9, 3 SO, 2.37 GAA); Mathieu Chouinard (no record); Mighty Ducks - Jean-Sebastien Giguere (12-24-5, 2, 2.65); Martin Gerber (10-9-4, 2, 2.28).

SEASON SERIES: Kings, 3-0-1.

LAST MEETING: Saturday; Kings, 2-1. At Los Angeles, Derek Armstrong assisted on both goals for the Kings.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Kings - 12-8-7-6 on the road; Mighty Ducks - 15-7-6-4 at home.

Associated Press
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