Ducks, Kings still battling hard
The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks are out of playoff contention, but they still have plenty of reasons to give it their all when they meet Saturday night in Los Angeles.
The Kings didn't show any retreat on Thursday night when they trailed the playoff-bound San Jose Sharks 2-1 just before the midway point of the third period before scoring three straight goals in the 4-2 win.
It was the first time Los Angeles overcame a deficit at the start of the third period to win in regulation this season.
"Winning's a lot more fun than losing," Kings forward Dustin Brown said. "We've had a lot of losing this year. I think we've got nine games after this. These should be fun games for guys to play in."
The Ducks are wrapping up a disappointing season as well, but they've done well playing the spoiler.
They did it again Friday night, beating the Sharks 4-3 in overtime to improve to 7-4 since March 3.
The Ducks also have two wins this month against the Colorado Avalanche, and victories against the Arizona Coyotes, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers, all trying to get in the playoffs or better their spots in the standings.
"We're doing a good job of getting pucks to nets and bodies," said Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg, who scored the game-winner in overtime Friday to match his NHL career high with 23 goals. "We're getting rewarded and its creating confidence within the team."
The Kings can expect to face veteran goalie Ryan Miller after John Gibson played Friday night.
Miller gave up a season-high six goals on 24 shots in his most recent appearance, a 6-1 loss at the Coyotes on March 14.
Miller has been sharp in his 16-year career against the Kings, however, owning a 9-6-3 record with a 2.38 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.
Kings head coach Willie Desjardins has sporadically used 11 forwards and seven defensemen, and he'll be even more short-handed at forward after Brendan Leipsic sustained a lower-body injury in the win against San Jose and will miss the Anaheim game.
Desjardins told reporters on Friday that Jonny Brodzinski would likely enter the lineup in place of Leipsic, who has five goals and 13 assists in 45 games since Los Angeles claimed him off waivers from the Vancouver Canucks on Dec. 3.
The Kings have won the first two games against Anaheim this season and can clinch the season series with a victory on Saturday. Los Angeles hasn't won a season series against the Ducks since winning five of six meetings in 2011-12.
Kings forward Tyler Toffoli has tallied just one point this month, assist in a 3-2 win against the visiting Ducks on March 10. Toffoli had a goal and an assist in the 4-1 win in Anaheim on Nov. 6.
One area of improvement for the Ducks has been on the penalty kill, holding their opponents to 2-for-11 in the past three games.
"Even though we don't want to take penalties, we take some pride in killing those off and just keep going after that," Ducks forward Rickard Rakell said.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 23, 2019