Friday, April 8, 2011
Kings/Ducks: Rivalry soars to another level
By Dan Arritt
Ducks (45-30-5, 95 points) vs. Kings (46-28-6, 98) at Honda Center, 7 p.m.
Five storylines to track:
1. More than a rivalry game – These teams have never met on a bigger stage than tonight. The Kings secured their second consecutive postseason berth with a 3-2 shootout victory Wednesday against the visiting Coyotes but are still fighting for home-ice advantage in the first round. The Ducks can clinch with a victory tonight, a regulation loss by Dallas in Colorado, or overtime losses by both Anaheim and the Stars. Upping the ante is the Ducks and Kings have never qualified for the playoffs in the same season.
2. Hop-along-Quick – The Kings will continue to ride Jonathan Quick in goal, even Saturday against the Ducks at Staples Center if it means getting the No. 4 seed. Quick has been tough on the Ducks in his career, owning a 6-2-2 record and a 2.59 goals-against average. And if the game should extend to a shootout, the Kings would have a huge advantage as Quick is unbeaten in 10 shootouts this season, only the second goalie to claim that feat.
3. One victory away – With a win tonight, the Kings can set a club record for victories in a season. They twice won 46 games, in 1990-91 and last season, when they finished sixth in the Western Conference at 46-27-9. A victory in regulation would also assure Los Angeles a third straight winning season against their neighbors to the south.
4. Hart to Perry? – In the last month, Corey Perry went from an outside candidate to win the Hart Memorial Trophy to a front runner. That happens when you score 19 goals in 14 games, including seven multi-goal games. Perry may have stamped his name on the trophy thast goes to the league’s most valuable player Wednesday night, scoring three goals to lift the Ducks to a crucial 6-2 victory against San Jose.
5. Emery no shows – Ducks goalie Ray Emery did not participate in the morning skate Friday at Staples Center and is listed as questionable for tonight, a bad sign for Anaheim. Emery left midway through the second period against the Sharks with a lower-body injury and told reporters after practice Thursday he felt better but would make a decision after the skate. That potentially could leave the Ducks with Dan Ellis as the starter and Jonas Hiller the back up, though Hiller has been battling vertigo-like symptoms since early February.