Los Angeles (38-35-7) at Anaheim (45-23-13)
When: Sunday, April 9th 2017
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
Time: 8:35 ET | TV: FSN West, Prime
The Anaheim Ducks will go into the final day of the regular season with a chance to claim their fifth consecutive Pacific Division title when they host the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night. Anaheim, who is two points ahead of Edmonton, just need a point to clinch. That hasn’t been a problem lately as the Ducks have registered at least a point in 13 straight contests. Goaltender John Gibson stopped all 37 shots he faced in Thursday’s 4-0 win over Chicago for his sixth shutout of the season – with two of those coming at the expense of Los Angeles. Gibson has stopped 63 of 64 shots to win back-to-back outings and likely claim the No. 1 goaltender’s position away from former King Jonathan Bernier, who posted an impressive 11-1-2 mark with a 1.91 goals-against average during the 14 games Gibson missed. All-Star defenseman Cam Fowler is expected to be sidelined anywhere from two to six weeks following a knee-on-knee collision with Calgary captain Mark Giordano on Tuesday. Fowler missed significant action during the 2013-14 and 2015-16 seasons because of ligament sprains. The news is better for Hampus Lindholm, who participated in Saturday’s practice and is a game-time decision after missing three straight games due to an upper-body injury.
The Kings will be looking to play spoilers and win the season series with the Ducks when they take the ice for the final time this season. L.A.’s lack of offense contributed to their woes this season as they ranked 25th in goals per game (2.4) despite ranking 6th in shots (31.3). A bad stretch in February and March where they went 6-11 doomed their season. Jeff Carter leads Los Angeles with 32 goals this season, but joined captain Anze Kopitar (team-leading 37 assists) in setting up all three goals in Los Angeles’ 3-2 overtime victory versus Chicago on Saturday. Carter also recorded a three-point performance – all in the second period – in the Kings’ 3-2 victory over Anaheim on November 20th. Reigning Norris Trophy winner Drew Doughty scored and set up a goal in that game and also found the net in overtime on Saturday. Longtime Kings broadcaster Bob Miller will call the final game of his Hall of Fame career on Sunday.
Playoff Note: Should Anaheim and Edmonton finish tied in points, the next criteria to determine the Pacific Division champion would be regulation/overtime wins (both currently have 42) and then the winner of the season series (Oilers).
The Kings have nothing to play for and I don’t expect them to put up much of an effort tonight. Anaheim is on a roll right now and I see them locking up the division tonight.
Pick: Ducks -1.5 +170
HEAD TO HEAD
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