With a trip to the Western Conference final on the line, the Pacific Division-champion Anaheim Ducks host their hated rival LA Kings in Game 7 of their second-round matchup tonight, Friday May 16th. The Kings used their playoff experience and staved off elimination Wednesday by recording a 2-1 triumph at home. Sportsbooks have the home ice Ducks as -120 moneyline favorites over the Kings (+110) with the total listed at 5 goals. Tonight’s winner gets a shot to dethrone the defending Stanley Cup-champion Blackhawks in the Western Conference final, which begins Sunday in either Chicago (should the Kings advance) or Anaheim. Take a look at the Kings vs Ducks preview and be sure to check out the full list of NHL Odds.
The Kings (7-6, 4-3 V) Jake Muzzin and Trevor Lewis scored while Jonathan Quick made 10 of his 21 saves in the third period, including several during a frenzied comeback attempt by the Ducks during the final minutes of the session.
The Kings wouldn’t be one victory away from the conference final without the tremendous play of Anze Kopitar. The 26-year-old Slovenian has registered at least one point in all but one of the Kings’ 13 playoff games and leads the league in postseason scoring with 17 points. Kopitar made a nifty cross-slot backhand pass to set up Muzzin’s goal on Wednesday and was very efficient in the faceoff circles, winning 15 of his 23 draws.
Mike Richards and RWs Justin Williams and Marian Gaborik are 5-0 in Game 7s over their careers. Williams has collected five goals and five assists in such contests. No member of the Ducks has more than two wins or three points (RW Teemu Selanne and C Saku Koivu on both accounts) in Game 7s.
The road team is 4-1 in Game 7s this postseason. The Kings are 5-4 all-time and have won two straight, while the Ducks own a 2-3 record after having dropped two in a row.
The Ducks (7-5, 4-2 H) Kyle Palmieri scored and rookie goalie John Gibson stopped 21 shots but missed the chance to clinch their first trip to the Western Conference finals since 2007. Gibson, who had stopped 67-of-70 shots since making his postseason debut between the pipes in Game 4, allowed both goals on 23 shots in the setback.
The 20-year-old Gibson burst on the scene with a 28-save shutout in Game 4 and stopped 39-of-42 shots in Monday’s close victory. It was the first loss at the NHL level for Gibson, who was 3-0 for Anaheim during the regular season in 2013-14 before winning Games 4 and 5 of this series.
Four days after Gibson made his NHL playoff debut at Staples Center by shutting out the Kings to even the series, the 20-year-old goalie had a rougher time in his third game in the Ducks’ net. Lewis scored on an eminently stoppable shot, the puck trickling between Gibson’s pads in the second period.
Tonight’s game could be the last in the standout career of Ducks winger Teemu Selanne, who expects to retire after this season. The 43-year-old future Hall of Famer has compiled 684 regular-season goals and 1,457 points in over two decades in the league.
Recent Betting Trends to Consider:
Under is 7-2-3 in the last 12 meetings.
Kings are 3-7 in the last 10 meetings.
Road team is 7-2 in the last 9 meetings.
Kings are 7-1 in their last 8 Friday games.
Kings are 4-1 in their last 5 road games.
Kings are 4-1 in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
Ducks are 8-3 in their last 11 vs. a team with a winning record.
Kings are 0-6 in their last 6 when their opponent allows 2 goals or less in their previous game.
Kings are 0-5 in their last 5 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game.
Los Angeles at Anaheim
When: Friday May 16@9:00 PM ET
Pick: Kings +110
The Bottom Line: I like the team with more playoff experience and that’s the Kings. The Ducks have won the cup, but it was in 2007 and many of those players aren’t on the team now. We recommend you sign up with Carbonsports to receive a 10% sign up bonus heading into the Los Angeles vs Anaheim matchup.