Five months ago, it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to predict that, on March 3, both the Kings and the Anaheim Ducks would be securely holding down playoff spots in the Western Conference. Now, it seems highly unlikely that both teams will make the postseason, and there’s a strong possibility that neither will make it, given that both are currently outside the top eight. The teams have reached this point through different circumstances. The Kings have been erratic throughout the season, while the Ducks were dreadful early but have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL since the calendar turned. Darryl Sutter watched carefully last night when the Ducks got a late goal and beat Calgary, and was pleased to see it wasn’t a three-point game. Tonight is huge. The Kings could build a six-point cushion over the Ducks, and move back to within one point of eighth-place Dallas, or the Ducks could pull within two points of the Kings and pull within five points of Dallas.
SUTTER: “When you break it down, the reason we’re not up there (in the standings) right now is that this team got 17 out of, I think, 36 points at home to start the year. Really, we shouldn’t even be in it. And they had a whole stretch of that, no matter where they were. Really, we’re both doing the same thing because of what happened at a different point of the season. We’re both good teams that are fighting back, and we just happen to play each other twice (this month).
“Everybody was talking about Ryan (Getzlaf) not scoring, but Corey Perry has 31 goals again. Their power play is scary. Teemu, he’s (going back) 20 years. He’s got to get that figured out. He’s going too fast. It’s an unbelievable thing. If we weren’t playing him so much, I could talk about him all day.’’