NHL Series Preview: Los Angeles Kings vs Anaheim Ducks
- Updated: May 2, 2014
The Los Angeles Kings visit the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday to begin their Western Conference semifinal series and are riding a huge wave of momentum, having become just the fourth team to rally from a 3-0 deficit and win a playoff series. Bovada opened the Kings -120 to win the series, but money has come in on the Ducks and Los Angeles is now -115 to win the series, with Anaheim -105.
It’s easy to see why the Ducks received some play, as Anaheim was the better team during the regular season, winning eight more games than the Kings, and won four of the five games between the two teams this season.
Four of the five games between the two were decided by one goal, with Anaheim’s 3-0 outdoor victory at Dodger Stadium the lone exception. Totals were 1-3-1 with the last meeting between the two teams on April 12 the lone game to go over, as Anaheim won 4-3 in a shootout.
Both teams have been great on the penalty kill against each other, as the two were a combined 3-for-41 on the power play, with the Ducks going 2-for-21 and the Kings were a dismal 1-for-20.
As is often the case with Los Angeles, the Kings have the edge in goaltending and defense, while the Ducks are by far the better offensive team, scoring .6 more goals per game than L.A. despite the Kings having more shots.
The Ducks were 32-12 at home this season counting the playoffs, while the Kings were just 25-21 on the road. The Ducks were streaky at times during the season and were a solid 26-6 after scoring four or more goals their previous game and come into the series off a 5-4 overtime victory at Dallas.
The key question for the Ducks is going to be goaltending. Jonas Hiller was the starter for most of the season but faltered badly down the stretch, which led to Frederik Andersen getting the starting nod in the playoffs, but he struggled and was replaced by Hiller in two games, including the series-clinching win at Dallas. The Kings have no such worries with Jonathan Quick, who was dismal in the first couple of games against San Jose, but finished by allowing five goals over his last four games.
The value in this series rests on Anaheim, goalie issues notwithstanding. The Ducks are the better team overall and you’re getting a price break because the public has fallen in love with the Comeback Kids from Los Angeles.