The Anaheim Ducks will try to move closer to their second Pacific Division title when they host the Los Angeles Kings in Sunday's battle at the Honda Center.
Anaheim enters Sunday with 55 points, giving the club an eight-point lead over Los Angeles for the division lead with 10 games to play. The only other time the Ducks won the division was in 2006-07, when the franchise also won its first and only Stanley Cup.
The Kings, however, are the defending Stanley Cup champions and enter Sunday's showdown with wins in four of five and six of their last eight meetings with the Ducks. Anaheim won the first encounter of the season with a 7-4 home win on Feb. 2, but the Kings recorded a 5-2 victory on Feb. 25 in L.A.
The clubs have split the last eight meetings in Anaheim. The season series will end Saturday when the Kings host the Ducks at Staples Center.
The Ducks won two games against Dallas when the clubs met in three straight outings last week, but the Stars claimed the finale with Friday's 3-1 win in Anaheim. It was just the fifth regulation loss on home ice for the Ducks this season, but four of those setbacks have come in Anaheim's last five tests in Orange County.
Kari Lehtonen posted 27 saves to lead the Stars to Friday's victory, while Andrew Cogliano scored the only goal of the game for the Ducks, who fell to . 14-5-0 as the host this season. Viktor Fasth surrendered all three of Dallas' goals in the first period and stopped 22 shots in the loss.
"In the first period we were running all over the place," said Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau. "I give Dallas' defense credit because they blocked a lot of shots. We tried to come back, but the damage was done."
The Ducks played Friday's game without leading scorer and team captain Ryan Getzlaf, who sustained a lower body injury in Wednesday's win over the Stars. The centerman leads Anaheim in both goals (13) and assists (30) in 37 games this season and is questionable for Sunday's showdown.
Also, goaltender Jonas Hiller was unable to suit up for Friday's game due to an illness and was replaced on the roster by Igor Bobkov, who has never seen action in an NHL game.
The Kings enter Sunday having won two straight and three of their last four games. L.A. has outscored the opposition by a 7-1 margin in its last two trips to the ice and is coming off Saturday's 4-1 triumph against the visiting Edmonton Oilers.
Mike Richards and Jeff Carter each scored first-period goals to back a 23-save effort from Jonathan Quick in the decisive win over the Oilers. Carter added an assist on Richards' early score to help the Kings improve to 5-1-1 over their last seven games and move past idle San Jose for the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference.
"We used our speed today," said Carter. "We got off to a good start and it set the tone."
Slava Voynov added a power-play goal in the win, which fellow defenseman Drew Doughty sealed it with an empty-net tally with 48.7 seconds left to play.
L.A. is beginning a brief two-game road trip on Sunday and will complete the swing Tuesday in Dallas. The Kings have lost two of their last three on the road and are 8-9-2 as the visiting club this season.