Join Times Kings writer Lisa Dillman and hockey Hall of Famer Helene Elliott today at 1 p.m. for a live video chat about the Kings and Ducks. The chat will take place on this blog post, and you will be able to submit questions during the chat.
The Kings are coming off consecutive victories over the Phoenix Coyotes, their 12th victory in the last 16 games. As Elliott wrote after the second victory over Phoenix this week,
"A few key details changed Tuesday as the Kings won their third straight game and 12th in the last 16 while improving to 12-2-1 at home.
"The physicality picked up and erupted in several scrums. And goaltender Jonathan Bernier was on a path to duplicate the shutout that teammate Jonathan Quick had pulled off Monday, but Bernier yielded a goal to Shane Doan on a deflection at 11:28 of the third period, while the teams were skating four-on-four. That goal ended the Coyotes' franchise-record shutout streak at 245 minutes and 33 seconds. During the second period they broke the previous mark of 226:21, set from Feb. 25, 1998-March 2, 1998. Doan scored again, with 41 seconds left.
"Bernier made a career-high 40 saves and was supported by a balanced offense as the Kings got one goal in each period. Dustin Penner scored in the first period, Drew Doughty scored his first goal this season in the second period, and Jarret Stoll connected during a power play in the third.
"When you play back to back like that it brings energy and tension between the two teams," Bernier said. "We fought hard and we came up with four big points for us."
"Doughty acknowledged that he was unhappy about not having scored a goal sooner, though he had claimed it didn't matter.
"I obviously was worried. I was just saying that," he said. "It's good to get that off my back. I'm hoping I can get on a little roll now. I'm kind of a streaky scorer, so I'm hoping that kind of continues."
"The Kings solidified their hold on fourth in the Western Conference without Doughty scoring, but a hot streak from him could only help.
"The difference between this year and maybe in the years past, he understands what he needs to do for us to win," center Anze Kopitar said. "Until this point he didn't need to score. But he made some great plays on the [penalty kill] and in the defensive zone."
Meanwhile, the Ducks continue to be one of the best teams in the league, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday. As Elliott wrote,
"Rarely do marquee matchups live up to the hype that precede them. This one did. The Ducks scored three times in the third period to grab an exuberant 4-2 victory and add a string of superlatives to an already excellent season that has thrust them into the role of Stanley Cup contenders a year after they failed to make the playoffs.
"For us we just wanted to try and make a statement game," said winger Bobby Ryan, who tied the score at 2-2 at 14 minutes 33 seconds of the third period by converting the rebound of a flu-ridden but persistent Ryan Getzlaf.
"As well as they've done, we've kind of flown under the radar and it's been great. To go out and beat the team you're chasing for that elusive first place in the Western Conference is a big night for us."
"In rallying to win for the 14th time this season, the Ducks extended their point streak to 12 games (9-0-3) and their home winning streak to 13. Only twice this season have the Blackhawks lost a game they led after two periods and on both occasions they were overtaken by the Ducks, who won in a shootout, 3-2, on Feb. 12 in Chicago. The Ducks (22-3-4) are the only team that has beaten the Blackhawks (24-3-3) twice this season."
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