The middle of the Western Conference is a tight battle. Three teams are tied at 70 points and four teams are tied at 68 points, two of which are the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks. These two teams are facing one another for the third time this season in the Freeway Face-off Wednesday night at the Honda Center. Both teams are at a critical point in the season, where every point matters in the fight to snag a spot in play-offs.
Anaheim has lost the last 3 games they’ve played, and were largely out scored in each game. In just those three games 21 goals were scored on Anaheim while they only tallied 10 themselves. Having lost star goaltender Jonas Hiller from the net, the Ducks are having difficulty battling through games.
Hiller was virtually standing on his head in games, keeping the Ducks even with or ahead of their opponents. With Hiller out of the lineup they have to dig deep, and each player needs to take it upon themselves to take their game to the next level.
The Ducks need to have their defense on point from here on out if they hope to stay in playoff contention. Allowing five, seven, and nine goals against in the last three games is not a good track to be on. Hopefully, the addition of veteran defenseman Francois Beauchemin will prove to be a smart trade for the club and provide the team with experience and consistency for their blue line.
Anaheim is looking for Captain Ryan Getzlaf to step back into his role as a leader and a goal scorer to push the team in the winning direction. They are also hoping new addition Jarkko Ruutu, who scored a goal in his first and only game with the Ducks thus far, will be a great addition on the offensive side of the game.
Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings will be a tough one for the Ducks. The Kings have been on a great run of games lately. They have earned at least one point in eleven of the last twelve games. The Kings have proven they are a team that can battle all the way to a shootout if necessary, and often come out victorious. Despite losses in the last two games the Kings seem to be ready to face off against all opponents with the mindset that they will walk with the ‘W’.
This is a big game for Southern California hockey fans. The rivals are not just battling for the bragging rights, but for those two points that will help push them toward a spot in the playoffs.