Looking to clinch 3rd in Pacific, Kings visit Ducks

Looking to clinch 3rd in Pacific, Kings visit Ducks

There will be plenty on the line when the Los Angeles Kings hit the road to face the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday in the regular-season finale for both squads.As the Kings prepare to meet their biggest rivals, it’s with the knowledge that a victory will clinch their hold on third place in the Pacific Division. Los Angeles (46-25-10, 102 points) is two points ahead of the Seattle Kraken, who face the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night in their final game of the regular season.While the Kings do not wish to discuss the possibility of dropping in the standings and meeting the Golden Knights, the Central Division champions, in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, they certainly were buoyed by Monday’s 3-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks that snapped a three-game skid.”Very good tune-up,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said of how the victory helped his team prepare for the playoffs. “(Monday) was a good game for us to play. Not a lot of space, very tight checking, on the boards and even in open ice, there wasn’t a lot of plays to be made. Faceoff circle, blocked shots, penalty kill, all the things you need to have in your game when the playoffs begin. We got an opportunity to use them all.”Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo collected his first shutout since being acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the trade deadline. Korpisalo has a 6-3-1 record with the Kings.”That’s pretty good for the confidence, Korpi was outstanding,” Los Angeles forward Phillip Danault said. “He had to make some huge saves at key moments, so you need that going forward into the playoffs.”The Ducks (23-46-12, 58 points) will be ending a brutal season. Their 3-2 loss to the Canucks on Tuesday leaves them at the bottom of the Western Conference and in the throes of a 12-game losing skid (0-10-2), which matches the longest winless streak in franchise history.With so few victories to celebrate, the Ducks have been looking for positives for the future with a litany of new faces making their NHL debuts, and many of them adding first goals and/or points.

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