Monday, November 29, 2010
Kings and Ducks meet again
By Dan Arritt
Kings (13-9-0) vs. Ducks (11-11-3) at Honda Center, 7 p.m. PT
Five storylines to track:
1. Who wants it more? – It’s fair to say both teams could really use a victory. Each side has been doing more losing than winning lately, and the company line from the locker rooms has been the same ... more effort will equal more victories. The Kings stubbed their toe, again, in a 2-1 loss to visiting Chicago on Saturday night. A couple of hours earlier, the Ducks ended a six-game losing streak with a surprising 6-4 victory against host Phoenix.
2. Shock value – Before Sunday’s practice, Kings coach Terry Murray took the team aside to show some film. According to various reports, the get-together wasn’t to show a preview of "Little Fockers" but rather to illustrate the breakdowns in the loss to the Blackhawks. Only time will tell if the Kings were paying attention.
3. Teeming with Teemu – The statistics speak for themselves. Anaheim's 40-year-old ace, Teemu Selanne, has 47 goals and 104 points in 86 career games against the Kings. Those numbers wouldn't matter if Selanne were still sidelined because of a groin injury, which caused him to sit out the last two games, but all systems are go for his return.
4. Still going strong – The King have a much-younger version of Selanne in Anze Kopitar, who became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL in 2006, then promptly scored two goals in his debut against the Ducks. Fans still talk about how he skated around Anaheim defenseman Chris Pronger and scored his first NHL goal in the 4-3 loss. Kopitar hasn’t let up on the Ducks, owning 10 goals and 29 points in 26 career games against his neighbors to the south.
5. Almost a must-win -- The playoffs are still a long way off, but the way the Western Division is balled in a knot, every inter-division game seems important. The Kings are tied for ninth after leading the conference as recently as two weeks ago. The Ducks are one point behind Los Angeles, but can jump into the top five with a victory.