All of a sudden, the Anaheim Ducks look beatable.
They hope a visit to their struggling cross-town rivals can get them back to their winning ways.
Anaheim looks to avoid losing its third straight when it makes the short trek to Los Angeles on Thursday to face the Kings, whom the Ducks have beaten four straight times.
At the beginning of the new year, Anaheim (27-19-6) finally started to flash the form that helped win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history last season, going 8-0-1 to start 2008.
However, the Ducks have lost their last two games in regulation, following a 5-2 defeat at Dallas on Sunday with a 2-1 loss to NHL-best Detroit on Wednesday. The Red Wings scored a power-play goal midway through the first period and never looked back.
“It was a big game and emotions run high,” Ducks forward Rob Niedermayer said. “We definitely have to control (penalties) a lot better, especially early on. You can’t get behind the eight ball right away.”
Anaheim’s penalties are nothing new - after giving Detroit six opportunities with the man advantage, the Ducks have been short-handed a league-high 273 times this season.
Getzlaf also has a three-game point streak against the Kings - he had four goals and two assists as the teams played three times over a two-week span in November, with the Ducks winning each game.
Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere has helped key the Ducks’ recent success. He made 31 saves despite picking up the loss on Thursday, and is 9-3-1 with a 1.84 goals-against average in his last 13 starts.
Giguere is 10-2-2 with a 2.58 GAA in his last 14 starts against the Kings.
Los Angeles (19-29-2) owns the worst record in the NHL but has played better of late, going 7-5-0 in its last 12 games.
Like Anaheim, the Kings are coming off a loss to Detroit. Los Angeles suffered its fourth shutout of the season Tuesday as the Red Wings won 3-0 at Staples Center.
“They are the best team in the league for a reason,” goaltender Jason LaBarbera said. “They probably didn’t have one of their better games, but they found a way to win. That’s the reason they are in first place and we’re not.”
LaBarbera has picked up four wins in his past nine starts, while posting a lofty 3.52 GAA in that span. He’s 0-2-1 with a 3.26 GAA against the Ducks this season.
Dustin Brown has been providing a good deal of the Kings’ offense lately. The 23-year-old right wing has eight goals in his last 11 games, although he only has one assist during that stretch.
He’s also scored a goal in each of his last two games against Anaheim.
Things aren’t about get any easier for the Kings as they look to climb out of the NHL’s cellar. They begin an eight-game, post-All-Star break road trip Tuesday at Philadelphia, and won’t play at home again until a Feb. 15 matchup with Calgary.