ANAHEIM Youth Sylvester Williams Jersey , Calif. — The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks meet for the fifth and final time this season in a pivotal game for both team’s playoff chances Friday night at Honda Center
The Kings (43-28-7) enter the second contest of a back-to-back set on a two-game winning streak. They defeated the Arizona Coyotes 4-2 on Thursday night at Staples Center.
Jeff Carter registered his sixth career hat trick and his first since March 4, 2013 against the Nashville Predators. Anze Kopitar added an empty-netter to set a career high with 35 goals and Jack Campbell stopped 20 of 22 shots for the victory.
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The victory extended Los Angeles’ lead over Anaheim for third place in the Pacific to two points with the Ducks holding a game in hand. This will be the final road game for the Kings as they finish the season with three consecutive home contests against Colorado, Minnesota and Dallas.
Kings coach John Stevens knows his team is far more formidable with Carter in the lineup. After missing 55 games because of an ankle tendon injury, Carter has returned with a flourish Youth Kemoko Turay Jersey , registering 13 goals in his last 17 games to help Los Angeles close in on a postseason berth.
“His presence in a lot of areas just checks a lot of boxes, but he’s a production guy,” Stevens said. “He ends up in the scoring areas, he goes to the tough areas. He scores goals that other guys can’t. That last goal for me was very impressive. He pulled the puck off the wall and he got at the net quickly.
“Jeff’s a production guy John Franklin-Myers Jersey Rams , but he provides leadership, he provides faceoff help, penalty kill, and really quality minutes against pretty much anyone you play him with. He’s been a big addition back in our lineup.”
The Ducks (39-25-13) are looking to make amends after one of their worst performances of the season. In the midst of a hotly contested Western Conference playoff race Chase Edmonds Jersey Cardinals , they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night. Though they enter the game in playoff position as the second wild card in the West, they realize their sense of urgency must be far greater in their final five games of the season.
Anaheim has made the playoffs for five consecutive seasons and like the Kings they have an advantageous home schedule to close out the season. The Los Angeles contest starts a four-game homestand as the Ducks face similar opponents in Colorado, Minnesota and Dallas before concluding the season in Arizona on April 7.
The Ducks addressed their lack of intensity with frankness as arguably the biggest non-playoff game in the Southern California rivalry known as “The Freeway Faceoff” approaches.
“We just don’t feel that we’ve played enough consistently to the level we’re capable of,” coach Randy Carlyle said after the Vancouver loss.
Captain Ryan Getzlaf went into more depth about the team’s mental approach that has been questioned given their inconsistent play.
“Most of it’s mental Trent Brown Jersey Patriots ,” Getzlaf told the Orange County Register. “You have to mentally be able to control the grind of a season. And you’re at the time of year where we’re grinding. We’re pedaling to get in. Every game is really important. Every day. You don’t get days off. And that’s the hardest thing this time of year brings. That grind of a season is now on your back and now you’ve got five games left.”
The Kings won the first two games of the season series, 4-3 in overtime on Nov. 7 and a 2-1 shootout victory on Nov. 25 but the Ducks evened the series with a 4-2 win Jan. 13 and a 2-1 victory Jan. 19. Both teams have recorded a road win in their two victories.
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