Kings Host Ducks In Battle For Playoff Positioning In NHL Regular Season Finale At Staples Center

(Sports Network) - Southern California will already be well represented in the postseason, but that doesn't mean there isn't anything for the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings to play for tonight in the finale of a home-and-home series at the Staples Center.

The Ducks kicked off this set with a 2-1 victory last night, getting a pair of goals from Teemu Selanne and 23 saves by Dan Ellis to clinch a playoff spot for the fifth time in six seasons.

With the Kings having already secured their trip to the second season, it marks the first time since Anaheim came into the NHL in 1993-94 that both of the teams will play in the postseason in the same year.

Who they will play is still up in the air. The Kings currently sit sixth in the Western Conference with 98 points, while the Ducks are tied with the Blackhawks for seventh with 97 points but own the tie break. The Predators and Coyotes are just a point ahead of the Kings and every team except Chicago is in action tonight.

Phoenix has the best chance of moving up as it owns the tiebreaker over Los Angeles, Phoenix and Nashville with more non-shootout wins. The Predators and Coyotes, meanwhile, own that tiebreaker over the Kings.

Still, it should make for an interesting day as both the Coyotes and Kings can finish anywhere from the fourth to the eighth seed. That means both clubs will be gunning for a victory in their regular-season finale.

Anaheim continued its hot play with last night's victory, winning its second straight while improving to 14-5-0 since a five-game slide from Feb. 16-25.

"It has been a grind for the last three months," said the 40-year-old Selanne, who reached 30 goals in a season for the first time since 2006-07. "I really believed that this team deserved to be in the playoffs. This was a big step forward. Now we can breathe a little bit. (Saturday) is another game where we can improve our standing a little bit and maybe get a better seed."

Tonight also marks Corey Perry's last chance to pad his lead for the NHL's goal-scoring title. He is tops with a career-high 50 goals and has 19 tallies in his last 15 games. Perry has scored twice in five games versus the Kings this season and is six ahead of Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos.

The Kings, meanwhile, will be hoping to rebound from their third loss in nine games tonight. Ryan Smyth had the lone goal last night and Jonathan Quick made 26 saves.

"I hope we're a little better in the playoffs than we were out there tonight," said Los Angeles head coach Terry Murray. "They have a lot of skilled players on that hockey club, and you have to manage the puck the right way. We had plays that we just did not make that you have to make against their top two lines. When it comes to breakouts, to managing the puck through the middle or through the ice."

Los Angeles is without forwards Anze Kopitar (ankle) and Justin Williams (shoulder), who combined for 47 goals and 130 points this season, though they hope to have Williams back at some point during the postseason.

Los Angeles has won five straight at home overall and has won four of its last six at the Staples Center versus Anaheim.

The Ducks have won three of five this year versus the Kings.

For more news and information about the Ducks, Kings, or tonight's game, be sure to read the SB Nation blogs Anaheim Calling and Jewels From The Crown.

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