Los Angeles Hockey: Anaheim Ducks

Video: SoCal battle: Kings or Ducks?

February, 26, 2013
While the Los Angeles area might have two of the hottest teams in the league right now, there are still questions looming for both the Ducks and Kings.

Even with the Kings winning on Monday night, Barry Melrose still likes the Ducks as the better team in L.A. right now.

Kings extend hot streak, slow Ducks in win

February, 25, 2013

LOS ANGELES -- Slava Voynov scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Anaheim Ducks 5-2 Monday night for their fourth consecutive victory while snapping the Ducks' six-game winning streak.

For the full story, click this link.

Ducks: Players get a feel for Bruce Boudreau

December, 1, 2011

ANAHEIM -- Ryan Getzlaf compared it to the first day of grade school. Bobby Ryan said it was more like a first date.

Whatever the occasion, the Ducks had the look of a team beginning anew during practice Thursday at Anaheim Ice, still mindful they were letting go of an important piece of the past.

Randy Carlyle, two months into his seventh season as coach of the Ducks, was fired Wednesday night within an hour of a 4-1 victory against the visiting Montreal Canadiens. He was immediately replaced by Bruce Boudreau, who was let go Monday as coach of the Washington Capitals.

The Ducks, who began Thursday with the second-worst record in the Western Conference, hope the move will provide a shot in the arm.

“It’s going to be a bit of an energy boost for us, hopefully,” Getzlaf said.

To read the full story on the team's first practice with Boudreau, click here.

Ducks: Teemu Selanne baffled by losing streak

November, 27, 2011

ANAHEIM -- Enough talking.

After the Ducks lost for the 13th time in their last 14 games Sunday night, veteran forward Teemu Selanne had heard enough. There’s only one place the Ducks can fix their broken wings.

“Out there, there’s the answer,” said the 41-year-old right wing, pointing out the door of the dressing room toward the Honda Center ice, where the Ducks had just lost, 5-2, against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.

Second to last in the league in scoring coming into the game, 23rd in goals against and 19th on the power play, the issues are complicated and far-reaching. Selanne insisted the downfall has nothing to do with coaching, team leadership or the offensive and defensive systems in place. It’s all in their heads.

“There’s no mental toughness right now,” he said.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle agreed that the team’s issues seem to stem from the neck up.

“We just seem to be dead between the ears,” he said. “We’re not thinking, we’re not reading and then it seems we pile on extra work for ourselves from our lack of execution.”

The Ducks followed their recent script by grabbing a 1-0 lead midway through the first period, then giving plenty back. The Maple Leafs tied the score a little more than four minutes later and then moved ahead for good 19 seconds after that. Another goal in the second period and two more in the fourth prompted what was left of the crowd to unleash a chorus of boos as the players left the ice.

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Kings/Ducks: Where do we go from here?

January, 31, 2011

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Anze Kopitar and Corey Perry try to lead their teams into the postseason.

The end of the All-Star break is the beginning of the stretch run for most NHL teams. The Kings and Ducks have never advanced to the playoffs in the same year, but now both are in the thick of the race with about one-third of the season remaining. Here’s a look at how these teams compare in four key areas that likely will determine their postseason fates.

The situation:
The Kings (27-22-1, 55 points) are in 11th place in the Western Conference, the caboose on a five-team train that’s separated by just a point. They made up ground by winning their last three games before the break, but it will be interesting to see how four days off the ice affects their momentum. The Kings can’t afford another tailspin like the one that occurred in November, when they lost seven of eight, or following Christmas, when they dropped 10 of 12. After 50 games last season, when the Kings went on to finish sixth in the Western Conference and advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2002, they owned a 28-19-3 record, four points better than their current standing.

The Ducks (28-20-4, 60 points) have scored three fewer goals than the Kings this season and allowed 22 more but still are six spots ahead in the Western Conference standings. The past two seasons, when they finished eighth in 2008-09 and 10th in 2009-10, the Ducks had 55 points after 52 games. Unlike the Kings, they’ve surged since the Christmas break, winning 10 of 13. What’s especially impressive about the current run is the Ducks have been without center Ryan Getzlaf, who was struck in the forehead with a puck Dec. 28 in Phoenix and sustained fractures to his nasal passages. Getzlaf led the team in assists the past three seasons and in points in two of the past three.

Advantage: Ducks.

The offense:
The Kings are about midpack in the NHL in goals-per-game average (2.8) and don’t have a player among the top 20 in goal scoring. They continue to receive their money’s worth from the second line of Ryan Smyth, Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll, however. Thanks to good health and chemistry, each is on pace to have his best season in a Kings uniform. The trio seems to be gaining momentum as well. Stoll scored six of his 14 goals in January, and Smyth had five of his team-high 19. Heading the other direction are center Anze Kopitar and right wing Dustin Brown, the team’s leading goal scorers two of the past three seasons. Kopitar had more goals in Sunday’s All-Star Game (two) than during January (one). Brown also has just one goal this month after scoring seven in December. At least they’ve experienced some hot streaks. That hasn’t been the case for third-year defenseman Drew Doughty, who has spiraled from second on the team with 59 points last season to seventh with 26 this season. Wayne Simmonds and Michal Handzus also have failed to keep pace with last season’s scoring totals.

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
Teemu Selanne already has surpassed his assists total from each of the past three seasons.

The Ducks are 21st in the league in scoring (2.6 goals per game) but have averaged three goals a game since a 4-1 loss Dec. 26 against the Kings. Again, most of that stretch did not include Getzlaf, one of the best playmakers in the NHL. Corey Perry has a team-high 25 goals and is on pace for a career season scoring the puck. Even more remarkable, Perry hasn’t gone more than three consecutive games without scoring a goal this season. Seven months past his 40th birthday, Teemu Selanne continues to age with grace, putting up Kopitar-like numbers of 15 goals and 30 assists. Selanne already has surpassed his assists total from each of the past three seasons. On the back end, defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky is giving Anaheim what Doughty provided the Kings last season, big-time production from the blue line. Visnovksy has eight goals and a team-high 35 assists, his best season since he played for the Kings in 2005-06. Bobby Ryan has filled in nicely for Getzlaf as the top-line center and is on cue for a third consecutive 30-goal season. Veteran forwards Saku Koivu and Jason Blake also have shown little signs of aging this season and have provided the type of secondary scoring Los Angeles currently lacks.

Advantage: Ducks.

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Kings and Ducks meet again

November, 29, 2010
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.