Hockey in Southern California has been heating up of late, and the race for the Pacific Division title could get even hotter when the second-place Anaheim Ducks host the division-leading Los Angeles Kings on Sunday. Los Angeles raced out to a large lead in the Pacific before sliding back to the pack recently, but the club appears to have found its form despite struggling offensively as it enters the showdown with Anaheim with a four-game winning streak.
The Kings have scored only two goals in each victory — and fewer than three in seven straight contests — but have allowed a total of three tallies during the run after Jhonas Enroth blanked his former Buffalo team Saturday for his seventh career shutout. Anaheim is the only team in the Western Conference that has been playing better than Los Angeles, winning a season-high seven consecutive contests and earning points in nine straight (8-0-1) to pull within four of its regional rival. Captain Ryan Getzlaf has been a major contributor during the Ducks’ surge, as he is riding a 10-game point streak that includes six two-point performances. Anaheim is 16-2-1 since Jan. 13, with one of the regulation losses — as well as one of the victories — coming against Los Angeles.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, NBCSN
LINE HISTORY: The Ducks have opened as -133 home favorites with a total of 5.0.
Kings – C J. Nolan (questionable Sunday, undisclosed), RW M. Gaborik (out indefinitely, lower body), D M. Greene (I-R, upper body).
Ducks – C S. Horcoff (Eligable March 11, suspension), RW C. Stewart (mid April, Jaw).
Kings – Jonathan Quick (31-15-3, 2.15 GAA, .922 save %). The Kings have gone under in Quick’s last five starts.
Ducks – John Gibson (14-8-2, 2.10 GAA, .917 save %). The Over is 5-0-1 in Gibson’s last six starts for the Ducks.
WHAT SHARPS SAY: The Ducks take over the top spot in the Power Rankings, riding a seven-game winning streak in which they?’ve outscored opponents 27-14. Now this is the L.A. we?re used to. Low-scoring hockey is back in La La Land, with the Kings going Under in seven straight outings.” – Covers Expert Will Rogers.
ICE GIRL WAR:
ABOUT THE KINGS (37-20-4, 18-26-17 O/U): Rob Scuderi began his second career stint with Los Angeles on Saturday and notched an assist for his fifth point in 43 games with three teams this season. The 37-year-old defenseman, who was acquired from Chicago on Friday, also played for the Kings from 2009-13 — winning the Stanley Cup in 2012. Tanner Pearson’s two-goal performance versus Buffalo was the third of his career and first since Oct. 26, 2014, against Columbus.
ABOUT THE DUCKS (33-19-8, 23-24-13 O/U): Getzlaf has been kept off the scoresheet in only two of his last 21 games, collecting 27 of his team-leading 50 points in that span. His power-play goal in Friday’s overtime win against Edmonton gave Anaheim a man-advantage tally in seven consecutive games — its longest such streak since a seven-game run from March 25-April 5, 2009. Frederik Andersen has not lost in regulation since Dec. 21, going 11-0-1 with a 1.88 goals-against average and .931 save percentage since falling to the New York Islanders.
* Kings are 4-0 in their last four games overall.
* Ducks are 6-0 in their last six home games.
* Under is 7-0 in the Kings last seven games overall.
* Over is 6-1-2 in Ducks last nine games versus Pacific Division opponents.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Sixty-six percent of wagers are backing the Ducks in this Pacific Division showdown, with 58 percent of wagers on the over.