Preview: Kings at Ducks
The Los Angeles Kings ventured nowhere fast this season, but they appeared to step on the gas in each edition of the Freeway Faceoff. The Western Conference cellar-dwelling Kings vie for a season sweep of the Anaheim Ducks on Friday when the Southern California rivals reconvene at Honda Center in Anaheim.
The 2018-19 edition of the Freeway Faceoff lost some of its luster with the struggling clubs failing to qualify for the playoffs in the same season for the first time since 2004. Los Angeles lost 16 of 18 (2-12-4) during a demoralizing four-week stretch before embarking on its current 5-2-1 run while Anaheim dropped 25 of 30 (5-21-4) to squash any realistic talk about making a seventh straight postseason appearance. The Ducks answered that run by going 10-5-1 heading into their season finale, although a 3-2 setback to Los Angeles on March 10 and a 4-3 shootout loss to the Kings on March 23 are included in that span. Captain Ryan Getzlaf, who had an assist in the March 10 encounter, scored in Wednesday's 3-1 win over Calgary to boost his team-leading point total to 48 -- with seven (two goals, five assists) coming in the last five games.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FS West-Plus (Los Angeles), Prime (Anaheim)
ABOUT THE KINGS (30-41-9): Kyle Clifford has enjoyed a career season with 11 goals this season, with three coming at the expense of Anaheim. The 28-year-old also scored in his second consecutive contest in Tuesday's 3-1 win at Arizona and added an assist to give him four points (two goals, two assists) during his three-game point streak. Captain Anze Kopitar (team-leading 37 assists, 58 points) has been kept off the scoresheet in the three encounters with the Ducks, although he netted the lone tally in the shootout in the most recent meeting.
ABOUT THE DUCKS (34-37-10): Anaheim has won three of four following its shootout loss to Los Angeles, with rookie Sam Steel scoring for the fourth time in as many games on Wednesday in the penultimate game of their season. "It's fun playing with those guys," Steel said of playing with linemates Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg. "They're creative, smart and skilled players. I'm just trying to help out in any way I can." Like Steel, fellow 21-year-old Max Jones also scored against the Flames and matched a season high with five shots on goal to boot.
1. Los Angeles RW Dustin Brown has recorded two of his club-best 22 goals against Anaheim this season.
2. The Ducks have outscored their opponents by a 23-16 margin to win five of their last seven home games.
3. Kings G Jonathan Quick has surrendered 14 goals during his three-game losing skid heading into the tilt versus Anaheim, against which he has turned aside 35 of 40 shots in a pair of wins this season.
PREDICTION: Kings 3, Ducks 2