ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks will seek improvement over recent performances Tuesday night when the rivals begin their five-game season series.
Los Angeles (10-2-2) hopes to start faster and finish strong than in a 4-3 overtime loss to the visiting Nashville Predators on Saturday. The Kings rallied from a three-goal deficit but gave up the game-winning goal on a breakaway late in overtime.
The Kings did not start rallying until a three-goal third period, but they managed to get a point in the standings. Los Angeles outshot Nashville 39-31 and lost for the first time in five games.
“We didn’t play well enough in the first two periods,” Los Angeles defenseman Christian Folin. “But, obviously, it’s a tough opponent. They did really well last year, so it was important for us to come back and tie the game. I wish we would’ve won it in overtime, but you can’t win them all.”
At about the same time the Kings fell in overtime, the Ducks wound up with a 2-1 shootout loss to the Sharks in San Jose.
Corey Perry scored Anaheim’s goal at 6:23 of the first period, but the Ducks were outshot 45-26 and lost their third straight when Ryan Miller gave up a goal to Joonas Donskoi in the sixth round of the shootout.
The loss occurred 24 hours after the Ducks’ 5-3 defeat to Nashville. Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle thought the effort was significantly better Saturday.
“We were engaged right from the opening faceoff. We needed something like that as a response from (Friday) night,” Carlyle said. “We weren’t very proud of our effort (Friday) night. We only played 40 minutes of 60 (Friday) night. (On Saturday), we played 60-plus minutes.”
Anaheim needs solid goaltending to contain Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Ryan Miller could start, given his remarkable play against San Jose (44 saves) and 1.85 goals-against average. The Ducks’ other goalie, John Gibson, lost his previous two starts and three of his prior four. He has a 2.94 GAA.
The Kings have unleashed their offense under Stevens. Anze Kopitar is among the league leaders in points (7-10-17). Five other Kings have 10 points or more.
The Ducks have two players with nine points, Rickard Rakell (5-4-9) and Andrew Cogliano (3-6-9).
Anaheim is missing several key players.
Ryan Getzlaf has an eye injury. Ryan Kesler is recovering from hip surgery. Puck-moving defenseman Cam Fowler has a knee injury.
Second-year defenseman Brandon Montour leads Ducks’ blue-liners with seven points (4-3-7).
The two teams played a fight-filled game in February at Los Angeles.
“When you play opposition you see on a regular basis, and they are your biggest rival, it’s natural that that’s going to come out, Carlyle said. “We have to make sure we contain the emotions to a level where we do the right things. You play with emotion, and you initiate things, but you don’t retaliate.”
Anaheim was 3-2-0 last season against the Kings. Los Angeles posted shutouts in its two wins against the Ducks.