Yesterday, Kings head coach Darryl Sutter raised some eyebrows by saying his team was the underdog going into Friday’s Game 7 versus the Ducks in Anaheim.
It really raised Bruce Boudreau’s eyebrows, because Boudreau insists his Ducks are the true underdogs.
From TSN’s Mark Masters:
Just to be clear, it seems obvious that neither team is an underdog (or overdog, if that exists) — they’re about as evenly-matched as you would expect from two bitter divisional foes going to Game 7 after being tied 13-13 on aggregate through the first six games of the series.
The Ducks have won four home games this postseason, the Kings have won four road games this postseason. The Ducks have the sixth-best power play, the Kings have the seventh. See where I’m going here? There’s just not much to choose between the two.
Online oddsmaker Bovada agrees. The Kings are slight underdogs at 1/1 for tomorrow’s Game 7 while the Ducks are at 5/6.
The Anaheim Ducks will lament, at least for now, missed opportunities on the power play Wednesday evening.
The Ducks lost Game 6 of their second-round series against the L.A. Kings, and the two teams will now need a seventh and deciding game to see who advances to the Western Conference Final. Anaheim’s power play went 0-for-5 and had only six shots registered on Jonathan Quick during their combined time on the man advantage.
“It stunk. Did we get any shots on five attempts? Nothing A1,” said Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, as per LA Kings Insider.
The Ducks’ power play in the series had been running at a pretty good clip in the first two games at the Staples Center, going 3-for-5 combined in Games 3 and 4. Not nearly the same efficiency in Game 6.
Down by only a goal late in the third period, the Ducks were unable to capitalize when Kings’ defenseman Slava Voynov was sent off for a hard high stick on Mathieu Perreault. The Kings, even in the midst of absolute chaos in and around their net in the final two minutes, managed to hang on to force a Game 7.
Quick was also strong in this elimination game, making 21 saves on 22 shots he faced.
Bruce Boudreau oversaw four playoff runs with the Washington Capitals, but the talented squad headlined by Alex Ovechkin never got past the second round. If they had, perhaps he wouldn’t be in Anaheim now.
His Ducks are just one win away from taking him to a conference final for the first time in his career as a head coach. If Anaheim beats Los Angeles in Game 6 tonight, it will be proof that he is capable of guiding a squad through a deep postseason run, even if he couldn’t make it work with Washington.
Perhaps there’s someone on the Ducks that wants this win even more though. At the age of 39, this might be Saku Koivu’s last chance to finally get to the conference final.
“I think Saku, especially,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said, per NHL.com. “[Teemu] always wants to go out on a high note, I’m sure. Given the opportunity, I’m sure he’d love to. Saku, I know, really wants this. He wants to get to the Finals. He wants an opportunity to play for that Cup, and we’d love to give it to him.”
The Ducks know they can’t get ahead of themselves. The Kings want this too. Koivu, Boudreau, and the rest of the Ducks won’t get past them without earning it.
Anaheim Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen will miss Game 4 against the Los Angeles Kings tonight because of a lower-body injury. If he was healthy, he would have probably started.
As it is, the decision is down to netminders Jonas Hiller and 20-year-old John Gibson. In other words, the veteran who struggled late in the regular season and lost the starting job in the playoffs or the promising rookie that has just three games worth of NHL experience.
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau isn’t about to tip his hand.
“(Gibson’s) going to be a great goalie,” Boudreau said, per the Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliott. “I don’t know if he’s today’s goalie.”
That’s not the only question mark for Anaheim as the Ducks announced that forward Mathieu Perreault (lower body) will be a game-time decision.
Like Andersen, Perreault was hurt during Thursday’s game. Forward Matt Beleskey also sustained a lower-body injury during that contest, but he has been ruled out by the Ducks. Daniel Winnik will make his series debut as a result.
The game will start at 9:30 p.m. ET and air on NBCSN. Los Angeles has a 2-1 series lead.
Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf could wind up seeing Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar in his nightmares once the playoffs are over.
Getzlaf and the rest of the Ducks were shut down and shutout by the Kings in Game 2. With Anaheim having home ice in Game 2, coach Bruce Boudreau did his best to get Getzlaf and his line matched up away from Kopitar’s line.
As Boudreau said after the game, his reasoning was simple as Jon Rosen of L.A. Kings Insider shared.
“Well, I did it because Kopitar’s line was dominating them,” Boudreau said. “When they’re dominating them, I could be stubborn and leave ’em out there all day, but we had to move something around to get away from it, and maybe his line could get something accomplished.”
Nothing got accomplished, however, as the Ducks weren’t able to beat Jonathan Quick. While Getzlaf’s line with Corey Perry and Matt Beleskey were able to generate plenty of shots, the quality chances weren’t there to be had. As it is, Getzlaf has two assists in the series.
With how Kopitar and his line have played offensively (Kopitar has a point in every game in the playoffs so far), the defensive domination is an added frustration for Anaheim.
With the series moving to Staples Center in Los Angeles, Getzlaf and his linemates better get accustomed to seeing Kopitar and start finding a way to gain an edge.