Before the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings face off in an outdoor setting this weekend, the rivals both hope to get back on track against each other indoors.
Coming off their first regulation home loss, the Ducks try to hand the visiting Kings a fourth consecutive defeat Thursday night.
With the hype for the teams' much-anticipated game at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night quickly growing, concentrating on the present could be a challenge. Some Anaheim players admitted the build-up toward the first NHL regular-season outdoor game west of the Mississippi River might have hindered their focus during Tuesday's 3-2 loss to Winnipeg.
The Ducks had won 10 straight at the Honda Center and were 20-0-2 there, tied for the third-longest point streak at home to begin a season in league history.
"There's a lot of distractions going on this week with this outdoor game," said captain Ryan Getzlaf, who has five goals and seven assists during an eight-game point streak.
"Everybody wants to talk about it, and everyone's been talking about it for two weeks, so it's hard to focus in on what you need to do and getting the two points on hand. But that's no excuse."
Though the Ducks (37-10-5) have dropped two of three following a stretch of 18 wins in 19 games, their 79 points are the most in the NHL. They've lost consecutive games in regulation twice this season, and not since Nov. 12-14.
"It gets tougher as the season goes on, which is why every team has got to improve to be as good as they want to be in April," coach Bruce Boudreau said.
The Ducks' previous home loss was a nine-round, 3-2 shootout defeat to Los Angeles on Dec. 3 - only Dwight King scored in the tiebreaker - in the teams' only matchup this season. The Kings have won eight of 11 in the series and earned at least a point in each of the last four (3-0-1).
However, Los Angeles (29-16-6) is struggling going into the finale of a five-game road trip before hosting the outdoor contest.
The Kings opened the trek with a 4-1 win at St. Louis last Thursday, then suffered a 3-2 shootout loss at Detroit and a regulation defeat by the same score in Boston before losing 5-3 at Columbus on Tuesday.
"We're clearly giving up too many goals," said coach Darryl Sutter, whose team had been on a 4-1-1 run before this three-game skid.
Jeff Carter scored his team-leading 20th goal Tuesday and Mike Richards had two assists for Los Angeles, which allowed a power-play goal for the third consecutive game after not giving up one in five straight.
"We're doing what bad teams are doing," forward Justin Williams told the Kings' official website. "We're allowing special-teams goals. We're allowing breakdown goals. When teams score goals against us, they need to earn them and earn them heavily. We haven't done that lately."
Carter has a goal in four straight games and three in his last four versus Anaheim.
Richards has one goal with four assists during the three-game slide. He was blanked at Anaheim last month, snapping a nine-game point streak (six goals, six assists) against the Ducks.
Getzlaf has three goals and two assists in his last five versus Los Angeles.
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who has a 1.60 goals-against average in eight games since missing 24 with a groin injury, is 5-0-0 with a 2.13 GAA in his last six starts against Anaheim.