Kings looking to drag Ducks into basement with them

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The Los Angeles Kings found their footing at home in November. Now they’ve got to discover it on the road.

The Kings open their December slate at Anaheim on Monday night, with a chance to pull even with the rival Ducks in the Pacific Division standings.

Los Angeles (11-14-2) went 7-1-1 at home last month in its bid to escape the division cellar. That included a 2-1 victory against Winnipeg on Saturday night, as Joakim Ryan and Nikolai Prokhorkin each scored, and goaltender Jack Campbell made 33 saves.

The Kings will play 17 of their next 25 games on the road.

“Well, we don’t need to change our game, and I think that’s the biggest thing we need to understand,” Kings coach Todd McLellan told reporters. “The structure is in place. When we play it, we have a chance, we give ourselves an opportunity, but we have to be better prepared to start games on the road and better prepared to dig in a little longer, a little earlier, a little longer and find ways to come out of it.”

Campbell made a save after the Jets’ Mark Scheifele got the puck alone in the slot with two seconds remaining to preserve the two points on Saturday.

“I thought our guys did a great job that final minute,” Campbell said. “I just had to kind of make that one save for them.”

Prokhorkin, who sat out the previous two games as a healthy scratch, scored what proved to be the winner and also went 5-for-7 in the faceoff circle.

“He’s a talented player,” McLellan said. “There’s a bit of a rotation that’s happening there, but he stayed ready, took advantage of his opportunity. You know, when some of our other centers were getting drilled early in the circle, he was actually winning a fair number of draws, so that was a real positive as well.”

The Ducks (11-12-4) have been idle since Friday, when they suffered a 3-0 loss to Winnipeg.

They had chances to take the lead in the first period. A video review of a shot by Sam Steel concluded the whistle blew to stop play before the puck crossed the goal line.

“We really needed one of those to go in,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “It was one of those games that I just thought whoever was going to score that first goal was probably going to have a pretty good chance at winning it, and obviously we didn’t get it.”

It was the first time the Ducks were blanked this season.

“I don’t think we played a bad game,” Ducks forward Troy Terry told “I know I’ve found myself in interviews, I’ve said a lot, we felt like we deserved more or whatever the case is. You know, that happens every once in a while, but that can’t keep happening.

“It’s obviously something that we can fix. I think we get a lot of zone time and we’re controlling the play, but we have to get more bodies to the net and try to create more traffic to score goals because it’s hard to score. … I think there’s still a lot that we can build on, and we’re trending the right way even if the results are like that, but we have to tighten it up and figure it out.”

Monday’s matchup will be the first of five between the Kings and Ducks this season.

–Field Level Media

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