Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 68 vs. Anaheim
March 15, 2014
7:30pm PST (10:30pm EST)
After having their season-high winning streak come to an end on Thursday, the Los Angeles Kings look to get back on track and what better way to do it than against their hated cross-town rivals?
On Saturday night, the Kings and Anaheim Ducks meet for the fourth time this season with the boys from the OC (don’t call it that) holding the edge by a game – and that includes, most recently, the outdoor game at Dodger Stadium back on January 25. But for the silver-and-black, their success rate transformed from night to day since then.
Before falling to the Maple Leafs on Thursday, the Kings had won eight-straight games dating back to February 6 when they beat to Columbus to enter the Olympic break.
Since the NHL returned from their Sochi hiatus, the Kings reeled off seven-straight wins and in doing so, they received support from all the cast. Dustin Brown, Justin Williams and Mike Richards, who had all struggled for much of the season, were suddenly spearheading the onslaught from a team who couldn’t seem to buy a goal just a few weeks earlier.
Los Angeles’s lone win against the Ducks came in Anaheim back on December 3 when Martin Jones made his NHL debut and shut the Ducks down, especially in the shootout, leading the Kings to a 3-2 win before celebrating a more-than-impressive 8-0-0 start to his career.
Since returning from Sochi, Anaheim’s once-comfortable lead in the Pacific Division dwindled. Once having an 11-point lead on second-place San Jose, the Sharks reeled off their own winning streak where, before Friday night, saw them with a two-point lead over the Ducks. But Anaheim, losers of two-in-a-row, won in Denver on Friday, defeating the Avalanche 6-4 to move back into a first-place tie. One could suggest that the Kings would be favoured on Saturday night given that their opponents had played just the previous night. But while it isn’t terrible, the silver-and-black record against teams playing the night before isn’t as impressive as it probably should be.
Simply put, the Kings needed to contain Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and even Nick Bonnino who has had his own success against Los Angeles. The Kings struggled with making quality shots late on Thursday and even had to deal with a goaltending change on the other end. Hopefully they will have more success on Saturday than they did on Thursday. Hopefully that will be the case for Los Angeles head coach Darryl Sutter who gets his second crack at hitting the 500-win plateau. Goaltender Jonathan Quick will also get his second shot at tying Rogie Vachon’s franchise-record for wins.
There’s never been any love lost between these two rivals and in what could very well be an opening-round playoff matchup, the Kings and Ducks will add another exciting chapter to their story on Saturday night.
Enjoy the game!