Ducks-vs.-Kings.jpgThe Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings face off for the first time since their first ever playoff meeting last season.

The Kings in that series triumphed over the Ducks when they eliminated Anaheim in Game 7 of the series with a 6-2 thumping at Honda Center, ending the career of Ducks great Teemu Selanne.

Anaheim allowed eight goals while going 4-0-1 against Los Angeles during the 2013-14 regular season, but the Kings exposed the Ducks’ weaknesses and went 3-1 in Anaheim during the series.

Nearly five months since the bitter end to the Ducks’ once-promising season and the Kings’ second Stanley Cup in three years, both are once again Western Conference favorites.

However, neither has been playing up their elite level this year.

The Ducks (10-3-3 23 points) will use the disappointing early exit as motivation in this first meeting.

However the Ducks are on a 3-2-3 skid in the last eight games and have missed key pieces over the last four games.

Anaheim has been impressive on defense, but have struggled to find the back of the net and are winless in last three games (0-0-3).

The Kings (8-4-3 18 points), meanwhile, are getting healthy and are seeking their second consecutive win after a nightmarish road trip.

Anaheim seeks its first Pacific Division win (0-1-2) and second victory in November (1-0-3). But the Ducks will likely have to do it without two of the club leaders who are out with flu-like symptoms.

Anaheim’s assistant captains Corey Perry and Francois Beauchemin are sidelined with viral gland infections and their status for Kings-vs.-Ducks.jpgWednesday’s game is in the air as they are undergoing further tests.

Injuries also plague the lineup for Anaheim.

Half of their blue line from opening day is out: Ben Lovejoy, Cam Fowler (far left) and Mark Fistric.

Fowler skated with team Tuesday and was at the morning skate today and is day-to-day after suffering a lower-body injury in Friday’s shootout loss versus the Arizona Coyotes.

Perry is tied for the NHL lead with 11 goals despite missing past three games. Beauchemin played in the Ducks first 15 games before coming out of lineup Sunday and has posted four assists.

Perry tallied two goals and two assists against the Kings during the regular season and same amount in the playoffs.

This lineup is ranked 20th with 2.50 goals-for and a +9 goal differential. The Ducks have only managed to score 12 goals in their past eight games after a hot start in the first eight contests.

Los Angeles has allowed one regulation goal during each game during their 2-0-1 stretch. Goaltender Jonathan Quick‘s resurgence doesn’t bode well for the ailing Ducks as he has an 0.97 goals-against average in last three contests after posting a 3.32 GAA on the road trip.

Quick went 3-2-0 with a 2.14 GAA in Anaheim in the regular season and playoffs last season.Anaheim Ducks v Los Angeles Kings

Newly prized acquisition Ryan Kesler (right) will get his first whiff of this heated rivalry. The Ducks traded for Kesler to close the gap on the Kings after Los Angeles dominated Anaheim down the middle in their playoff series.

Anaheim is now sixth-best in the league in the face-off circle winning 52.7% of the time, led by Kesler with a 56.2 FO%.

The Kings however are no slouches in the circle either and are eighth-best at 52.5%.

The Ducks defense, oddly enough, has been the Ducks’ backbone so far this season. They are third in the NHL in GAA (1.88) and are going up against a hot offense and “That 70’s Line”, arguably the NHL’s most exciting line of Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, and Tanner Pearson.

Forwards Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik, and Trevor Lewis have returned from injuries and can ignite some firepower in what has been a lackluster offense. Gaborik, who was a thorn in the Ducks’ sides when he tallied six goals and four assists in the playoffs, scored his first goal of the season and added an assist last Saturday.

The Kings are going up against Frederik Andersen who’s the NHL-leading goaltender in goals-against average with 1.56 GAA. Andersen went 3-0-0 with a 1.62 GAA against the Kings last season.

The Ducks and the Kings after tonight at Honda Center will take a very short drive up to Los Angeles for a date at STAPLES Center this Saturday.

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