|Rivals Ducks, Kings seek upper hand in Southern California|
Even though they have a history of a feisty rivalry, the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings still will be in search of some intensity and some healthy regional animosity when they meet Thursday night.
It will be the second meeting in 11 days between the teams, with the first one void of the rugged, physical play that has marked these games in the past.
The Ducks pulled off a 4-2 victory over the Kings at Anaheim on Dec. 2 but the contest had just six minutes in penalties -- and one was for a delay of game. There were some big hits, but neither team looked intent on making a statement marked by aggression.
The Ducks walked away winners when center Derek Grant scored two goals and defenseman Hampus Lindholm had three assists. Ducks goalie Ryan Miller made 34 saves.
The loss started the Kings on a four-game losing streak that they were able to put to rest Tuesday with a 3-1 home victory over the New York Rangers. Los Angeles hasn't been able to end the road woes yet, however.
The Kings will drag an 11-game road losing streak into Anaheim for the start of a six-game trip that concludes Dec. 21 at Buffalo.
The Kings will have a chance against the Ducks if goalie Jonathan Quick can repeat his performance from Tuesday. Quick had 29 saves against the Rangers and only lost his shutout with 31 seconds remaining when Artemi Panarin scored on the power play after a questionable tripping call with 2:05 left.
The Kings received goals from Dustin Brown, Tyler Toffoli and Adrian Kempe while holding the Rangers to just five shots in the second period.
"It was deserved," Kings head coach Todd McLellan said of the victory to end the losing run. "It wasn't pretty by any means, but I think that's how we have to win sometimes. We checked our butts off and got some real good goaltending when we needed it.
"We earned some breaks on the other end and also came out on the short end of some breaks with a lot of (shots off) posts tonight that could have allowed us to have more of a cushion."
The Ducks will return home after a 3-2 shootout victory at Minnesota on Tuesday. Playing away from their own building also has given the Ducks some trouble; Tuesday's victory ended a five-game road losing streak. Anaheim is 8-6-2 at home.
The Ducks started fast Tuesday with Rickard Rakell and defenseman Cam Fowler scoring first-period goals. The defense held the Wild to just one first-period shot on goal.
The Ducks failed to score on 19 shots on goal over the final two periods, and they did not have a shot in overtime before Rakell and Maxime Comtois scored in the shootout. It was just the fourth victory for the Ducks over their past 16 games. They are 4-8-4 in that stretch.
"We've been in a lot of close games lately and coming out on top of this one, it's a huge deal for us," Rakell said, according to NHL.com. "Just the environment, feeling in the room, even though we have been playing well, we lost close games -- at the end of the day we lose. Being on top of this one feels great."
--Field Level Media