Preview: Kings At Ducks
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[May 16, 2014]
Southern California fans couldn't
ask for a better way for the first-ever Stanley Cup playoff series
between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks to culminate. With a
trip to the Western Conference final on the line, the Pacific
Division-champion Ducks host the rival Kings in Game 7 of their
second-round matchup on Friday. Fresh off its historic comeback against
San Jose in the opening round, Los Angeles kept rolling by winning the
first two games of this set on the road before dropping the next three
Anaheim jumped into the driver's seat thanks in part to rookie
sensation John Gibson, who posted a shutout in his postseason debut
to even the series before improving to 5-0-0 (regular season
included) during his brief time in the NHL with another strong
effort in Game 5. Los Angeles drew from recent experience and staved
off elimination Wednesday by recording a 2-1 triumph at home.
Defenseman Jake Muzzin and Trevor Lewis scored while Jonathan Quick
made 10 of his 21 saves in the third period, including several
during a frenzied comeback attempt by the Ducks during the final
minutes of the session.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS
ABOUT THE KINGS: Los Angeles likely wouldn't be one victory away
from the conference final without the tremendous play of Anze
Kopitar. The 26-year-old Slovenian has registered at least one point
in all but one of the Kings' 13 playoff games and leads the league
in postseason scoring with 17 points. Kopitar made a nifty
cross-slot backhand pass to set up Muzzin's goal on Wednesday and
was very efficient in the faceoff circles, winning 15 of his 23
ABOUT THE DUCKS: Captain Ryan Getzlaf has been producing against the
Kings, collecting a goal and six assists, but Anaheim needs more
from Corey Perry. The former Hart Trophy winner has registered only
a tally and two assists versus Los Angeles after scoring two goals
and setting up five others against Dallas in the first round.
Anaheim dropped from first overall to sixth in playoff power-play
efficiency, failing on all five opportunities in Game 6 to fall to
25.5 percent (12-for-47).
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1. Friday's winner receives the opportunity to dethrone the
defending Stanley Cup-champion Blackhawks in the conference final,
which begins Sunday in either Chicago (should the Kings advance) or
2. Los Angeles C Mike Richards and RWs Justin Williams and Marian
Gaborik are 5-0 in Game 7s over their careers. Williams has
collected five goals and five assists in such contests. No member of
the Ducks has more than two wins or three points (RW Teemu Selanne
and C Saku Koivu on both accounts) in Game 7s.
3. The road team is 4-1 in Game 7s this postseason. The Kings are
5-4 all-time and have won two straight, while the Ducks own a 2-3
record after having dropped two in a row.
PREDICTION: Kings 3, Ducks 2
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