It is without a doubt the most significant regular season game ever played between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. Both teams level at 99 points on the season, and the Ducks holding a game in hand. The winner takes the inside track to the Pacific Division title; should Anaheim prevail and claim the banner, it would be their fourth consecutive; for Los Angeles it would be just the second regular season division title in the club's 49-year history.
A Ducks win means they can clinch the division with a point from their final two games, either in Denver on Saturday or Washington DC on Sunday; a Kings win, coupled with a win at home over Winnipeg on Saturday would guarantee them the division no matter how Anaheim does in their final two games, as the Angelenos would hold the regulation and overtime wins tiebreaker.
Ducks: Tuesday, 4/5 vs Winnipeg (OL 1-2). "GameThread: Ducks vs Jets"
Kings: Wednesday, 4/6 at Calgary (OW 5-4). "Kings Kinda Sorta Steady Ship In Calgary"
The training room remains uncomfortably full for Anaheim at this point in the season, with all five of David Perron, Rickard Rakell, Brandon Pirri, Kevin Bieksa, and Frederik Andersen not expected to dress for the contest. Anaheim is coming off disappointing losses to non-playoff teams in two of the last three games, giving up third period leads in both, but salvaging a point from an overtime loss in their regular season home finale against Winnipeg. The extra session defeat was the second time in four games the team couldn't earn full points while scoring a power play goal, but is the sixth straight game they've banked at least a point when getting an extra man score. For the season, Anaheim is 30-6-5 when scoring up a man, including a 22-0-1 stretch from November 30 to March 5 when tallying on the power play.
Ryan Getzlaf (one goal, three assists) and Corey Perry (three goals, one assist) have each put up four points through the first four showdowns with the black and silver, and probably starter John Gibson is 2-1-0 with a .912 save percentage. Perron's absence will be particularly felt on offense, as he'd donned the 'King Slayer' crown for this season with four goals and two helpers in the previous four meetings. Ryan Kesler has topped the 50-point plateau for the first time since his 2010-11 season with Vancouver, putting up 20 goals and 30 assists thanks to a two goal game against Dallas, as well as a four point night (goal, three assists) against Calgary. Jakob Silfverberg could also threaten his career high of 39 points; he's already set a new career-high with 18 goals this season, and sits just 3 points back of equalling his high-water production mark of last season.
As good as the Anaheim special teams have been this season for the whole, while the power play has succeeded on 6/15 tries against LA, the penalty kill has succeeded on just 9/14. The Kings have gotten extra man tallies from five separate players, and have had the second-most success of any opponent against the league's best penalty killing unit, behind just Tampa Bay's three power play goals on eight opportunities. Since running off a four-game winning streak from March 14-19, LA is just 3-6-0 in their last nine, with four of the six losses coming against playoff-qualified opposition. Their power play has converted just three of the last 35 chances dating back to March 12, including and 0/18 drought from March 12-22. Meanwhile, the penalty kill has allowed odd man goals in their last three games, and seven of their last nine outings, killing at a 76.7% success rate.
Perhaps the King with the most to prove against Anaheim based on play this season is Jonathan Quick, who has posted a ghastly .870 SV% in going 1-3-0 when facing the Orange County rivals. Since backstopping the 2014 postseason series victory, Quick is 2-3-3 against Anaheim with a .894 SV%. Up top, Anze Kopitar has reliably been a thorn in Anaheim's side, with a goal and five assists in the four games this season, and 24 goals with 28 assists in 54 career regular season appearances against the Ducks. Offseason acquisition Milan Lucic, as well as defensemen Drew Doughty and Alec Martinez each have three points against the Fowl, though Martinez's status for the game is unknown after having missed the last two games with an undisclosed injury.
Two hours before face off we'll have the game thread up, featuring the full Stat Pack, likely with expected lines, and of course your Numbers For Nerds.