Ducks-Kings Preview


Lack of consistent scoring has plagued the Los Angeles Kings all season, and that's partly why they're on the outside looking in on a playoff position.

Dustin Brown is doing his best to start changing that.

Brown looks to continue his scoring surge as the Kings attempt to beat the Pacific Division-rival Anaheim Ducks again Saturday night.

Los Angeles (29-23-12) was a trendy pick to reach the playoffs this season, and the club may still get there. However, the Kings are tied with Colorado for ninth in the Western Conference, three points behind Dallas and San Jose for the final two postseason positions.

They're at the bottom of the NHL with 2.09 goals per game.

Brown, tied with Anze Kopitar for the team lead with 18 goals, has shouldered the offensive burden of late as Los Angeles makes its playoff push. The right wing has five goals and four assists in the past five games, getting two assists during a three-goal first period in a 4-0 win at Minnesota on Tuesday.

Brown appears to be in good position to extend his points streak to a season-high four games. He has nine goals and nine assists in his last 18 home games against Anaheim (28-27-10), including a tally before netting the decisive shootout attempt in a 3-2 victory at Staples Center on Dec. 22.

Despite Brown's impressive scoring stretch of late, the Kings have followed each of their last three four-goal games with a loss, totaling two goals.

That puts more pressure on goaltenders Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier, who made 26 saves against the Wild for his first shutout of the season.

Coach Darryl Sutter came away impressed by the 23-year-old backup.

"I thought he was awesome, he was the best player on the ice," Sutter said.

Bernier may have a case for another start since he's won both of his games versus the Ducks, stopping 44 of 46 shots.

Quick has a 2.05 goals-against average, but just a 1-4-1 record to show for it due to the Kings' offensive woes. He's been backed by one goal or watched his teammates get shut out in four of those defeats.

He has a 1.94 GAA with a 5-1-2 record in eight home matchups with Anaheim.

Los Angeles has taken three of four season meetings from the Ducks, who are tied seven points back of the playoff cutoff.

Anaheim is looking to build on Friday's 3-2 victory over Calgary, as Ryan Getzlaf scored the winning goal with 46 seconds left in regulation.

The goal was also a relief to the center, who hadn't found the net in 17 games and has just nine goals after getting at least 19 in each of the past five seasons.

"The last little bit has been a bit of a struggle with putting the puck in the net," Getzlaf said. "We've had all kinds of chances the last few of games, so it was nice to get one."

Getzlaf doesn't have a goal in his last nine games against Los Angeles, but has managed five assists.

Teemu Selanne, who had an assist Friday, is two points away from tying his childhood idol and countryman Jari Kurri for 19th on the all-time scoring list with 1,398 points.

Facing the Kings could get Selanne closer. The right wing's 51 goals and 63 assists against them are his highest totals versus any opponent.

He has four assists against Los Angeles this season.