No team in the Western Conference had a better regular season than the Anaheim Ducks. After Game Two of their second-round playoff series, though, they could be looking at a two-game deficit.
The Los Angeles Kings stole Game One and home-ice advantage from the No.1 seed on Saturday night. The Kings pulled out a 3-2 overtime victory, taking a 1-0 series lead. Marian Gaborik scored his second goal of the contest in the extra session to give L.A. the victory.
The win was the fifth straight for Los Angeles, who won the Stanley Cup just two years ago. They fell down 3-0, behind the San Jose Sharks in their first-round matchup, allowing 17 goals in the first three games. Since then, the Kings have played better than anyone in the 2014 NHL playoffs, outscoring their opponents 21-7.
On Monday night, Los Angeles looks to take another game on the road. While both teams have performed well away from their fans, another victory for the Kings could give them a significant advantage. Anaheim has done a lot of their damage at home, leading the West with 29 home victories.
"I thought the atmosphere was great. A lot of times when you're on the road, all you want to hear is silence, but there wasn't much silence when we scored," Kings forward Justin Williams said. "There was a lot of Kings fans there and a lot of support for us. It was an extra added element to the game. Usually when you score an overtime goal, it's crickets in the building. We heard a little something. Kings fans were making their way down the freeway."
In Anaheim, the NHL’s best offense hopes to have success against a banged up defensive unit. When healthy, L.A. is the best team at preventing goals. Goalie Jonathan Quick leads a team that surrendered just two goals per game this season. However, the club will be missing one of their defenseman. Robyn Regehr left Game One with an injury and is expected to miss Monday’s contest. He’ll be replaced by Jeff Schultz, who hasn’t played in the NHL all season.
Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were two of the most dangerous offensive weapons in hockey this year. They ranked second and fifth, respectively, totaling 169 points. In the playoffs, though, no one has been as good has Anze Kopitar. He’s registered 13 points with the Kings.
Despite the Game One loss, the Ducks are expected to have a bounce-back performance. The consensus odds at most Las Vegas casinos has Anaheim listed at -135. The Kings come in at +115. The betting line has moved in favor of Anaheim, since it opened.
The contest is set to begin on the NBC Sports Network at 10 p.m. ET. Viewers can watch a free live stream online with NBC Sports Live Extra.
Prediction: Anaheim 3, Los Angeles 2