The first playoff series between the rivals comes after the Ducks were 4-0-1 against the Kings, losing only in a nine-round shootout Dec. 3 at Honda Center. The Ducks, the Western Conference's top-seeded team, claimed a pair of 2-1 regulation wins and an April 12 shootout victory at Staples Center when both teams had clinched a playoff position. The most lopsided victory was the 3-0 win Jan. 25 at Dodger Stadium, when Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller made 36 saves. Now the Kings are riding the momentum of their rally from a 3-0 series hole against San Jose and the Ducks have rested since Sunday after their first playoff series win since 2009.
Ducks offense vs. Kings defense
The Ducks' Mercedes-Benz first line of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry squares off against Coach Darryl Sutter's NHL leaders in fewest goals allowed. Defenseman Drew Doughty and company will again try to muddy up the ice against the four-lines-deep Ducks unit that produced a franchise-record goal total while being boosted in the playoffs by Nick Bonino and 21-year-old forward Devante Smith-Pelly.
Ducks defense vs. Kings offense
The loss of veteran Stephane Robidas (broken leg) hinders the gritty, experienced Ducks unit, but 20-year-old Hampus Lindholm's recovery from neck pain provides speed. Kings forward Anze Kopitar scored a point in all seven games of the Sharks series, and Justin Williams had four goals.
Jonathan Quick knows how to win a Stanley Cup, and after Game 1 and Game 2 he was valiant in the Kings' recovery. Only Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau and those closest to him know if he'll start rookie Frederik Andersen, who started all six games of the Dallas series but was hooked twice, or Hiller, who once won 14 straight.
The Kings ranked 27th in power-play success during the season, but were 11th on the penalty kill and shined in Game 7 down a man. The Ducks, led by rookie Patrick Maroon's six power-play points in the first round, righted their regular-season woes by scoring four goals with a man advantage in a Game 5 Dallas win, also killing all seven penalties.
The Ducks reaffirmed the influence of the building where they set a franchise record in home wins by going 3-0 against Dallas. That dynamic changes by the expected invasion of Kings fans. L.A. was 23-14-4 at Staples Center and blanked the Sharks at the raucous arena in must-win Game 6.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times