Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 82 vs. Anaheim
April 12, 2014
7:30pm PST (10:30pm EST)
While both teams are set in their respective positions entering the playoffs, I doubt that either team will think of a better wayto close out the regular season than facing each other. The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks will renew their heated rival in the fifth and final installment of this season's Freeway Faceoff.
After winning the first meeting in a shootout in Anaheim back on December 3, the Kings have lost three-straight games against their rivals from Orange County. The most recent duel came on March 15 when the Ducks won by a 2-1 score at Staples Center, thanks partly to a controversial disallowed goal that prevented Anze Kopitar from tying the game. This battle, like last month's, will be in Los Angeles with the Kings looking to make a bit of history in the process.
At 46 wins, the silver-and-black have tied a franchise record for victories in a season for the fourth time. Darryl Sutter has also tied his career mark in wins in a season, accomplishing the 46-win plateau in 2005-06. A win over Anaheim on Saturday will set both a franchse record for the Kings and a career record for Coach Sutter.
In addition, the Kings are on the precipice of winning their first William M. Jennings Trophy in franchise history. As of Friday night, Los Angeles has allowed three fewer goals than the Boston Bruins, who sit second-overall in said category. If the Kings allow fewer than three goals on Saturday, they clinch the trophy. But even if they don't, the Bruins still have a game in hand on the Kings so the odds of them winning the award are a bit slimmer.
As for the game itself, the Ducks are looking for their fourth win in a row over their crosstown rivals.
At 52-20-8, the Ducks have first-place in the Pacific wrapped up and, like the Kings, are looking for a bit more momentum entering the postseason. They've already won two-straight but the Kings hope to crack the 100-point plateau for just the fourth time in their history and the first time since the 2009-10 season when they finished with 101 points. Entering Saturday's matchup, the Kings have 99.
Beating Anaheim, however, will be no easy feat for the Kings. Corey Perry - who is second-overall in goals with 43 - has scored six goals in his last seven games while Ryan Getzlaf - whose 83 points puts him second-overall behind Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby - has been on a tear, notching 23 points in his last 21 outings. Matt Belesky has four points in his last four games while Patrick Maroon, whose had success against Los Angeles this season, is coming off his first-career multi-goal game.
But the Kings aren't lacking any production either. Coming off a three-point night in Edmonton on Thursday, Marian Gaborik now has five points in his last three games and 15 in his 18 games as a member of the Kings. Anze Kopitar has three points in his last two outings while defenseman Slava Voynov is currently riding a three-game point streak, scoring four points over that stretch.
On the other side, this will most likely be Teemu Selanne's final regular-season game. But while he did have a wonderful career and is a class act both on and off the ice, the Los Angeles Kings would like to spoil the party with a win.
Can they do it? We'll just have to see.
Enjoy the game!