Kings/Ducks: Round Two moves to Anaheim

November, 17, 2011
11/17/11
10:35
AM PT
Kings (9-6-3, 21 points) vs. Ducks (6-8-4, 16 points) at Honda Center, 7 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. Job security -- Nobody’s feeling better about their situation than Kings assistant coach Jamie Kompon, whose duties include managing the power-play units. After a less-than-average performance last season that frustrated many fans, the Kings are eighth in the league in power-play efficiency after notching a 5-on-3 goal Wednesday night in a 2-1 shootout victory against visiting Anaheim. More than anything, the Kings have been consistent. They’ve scored a power-play goal in five consecutive games and 12 of 18 this season. The last time they scored a man-advantage goal in six straight games was at the start of the 2009-10 season.

2. Shot mentality -- Before Wednesday, no player on the Kings had taken more than six shots on goal in a game this season, then Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards exploded for seven each against the Ducks. Probably a dozen times in the locker room after the game, players and coaches said the Kings did an efficient job of “getting pucks to the net.” They had a season-high 17 shots on goal in the first period and maintained a busy pace against Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller. It will be interesting to see if they can sustain that pressure again tonight.

3. Wire-to-wire wins -- When the Kings score first this season, there’s a pretty good chance they hang on to win. They scored the first goal against the Ducks before winning in the shootout to improve to 7-1-2 when tallying the game’s first goal. The Kings are also unbeaten when leading after the first period this season, while the Ducks have yet to win a game after trailing at the end of one. Getting on the board first will be a huge psychological edge for either team tonight.

4. Report card -- Slava Voynov and Andrei Loktionov slid into the lineup Wednesday night and the 21-year-old Russians received passing grades. They were called up from the AHL earlier in the week to replace defenseman Alec Martinez (upper-body injury) and Dustin Penner (hand). Their numbers didn’t jump off the stat sheet but they also avoided any costly mistakes in a tight, low-scoring game. Loktionov made a perfect set-up pass to Dustin Brown at the end of a 2-on-1 in the second period, but Brown couldn’t strike the puck cleanly and his shot went wide.

5. Sinking Ducks -- Anaheim will take any break it can get at this point. They’ve lost 11 of the last 13 games to spiral to the bottom of the Pacific Division. Their problem is pretty easy to pinpoint. The offense is last in the league in scoring (1.94 goals a game), second-to-last in goals scored in the third period (nine) and shots a game (25.5). Throw in an especially sloppy night with the puck Wednesday night (19 giveaways) and the Ducks were lucky to escape with a point.

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