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Do Or Die For Ducks, Kings

Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings will look to upset the Anaheim Ducks when the Californian rivals meet in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals on Friday.

Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings will look to upset the Anaheim Ducks when the Californian rivals meet in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals on Friday.

Prior to this season, the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings had never met in the postseason. Ensuring their first meeting would be a memorable one, the two Californian rivals will contest a decisive Game 7 on Friday night.

Opening face-off at Honda Center is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. ET.

The inaugural postseason Freeway Faceoff started in unexpected fashion with the Kings winning a pair of games in Anaheim. As the series switched to Los Angeles, it was the Ducks that defied home-advantage and took a pair before winning Game 5 in Anaheim to take a 3-2 series lead.

On Wednesday, facing elimination, the Kings pulled out all the stops at Staples Center, stifling the Ducks’ power play and offense, while getting a strong performance from goaltender, Jonathan Quick.

The Kings scored in the first and second on goals from Jake Muzzia and Trevor Lewis, before Kyle Palmieri pulled one back for the Ducks. From there Quick made sure nothing got past him and Los Angeles took the 2-1 victory to force Game 7.

Now the two Pacific Division rivals will each look to book a place in the Western Conference finals, where the Chicago Blackhawks – 4-2 winners over the Minnesota Wild – lay in wait.

Quick, who stopped 21-of-22 shots in Game 6, will likely play a massive role for the Kings again as they look to win their third straight Game 7 and upset the favored Ducks. The 28-year-old netminder was pivotal in the Kings’ Stanley Cup run in 2012 and could be in line for more hero worship if he can send the Ducks packing.

Meanwhile, John Gibson, who made his playoff debut in Game 4, could be about to face the biggest game of his short career. Gibson stopped 21-of-23 shots in Wednesday’s game, once again proving his worth ahead of Jonas Hillas.

In terms of offense, the Ducks will hope the likes of Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry can find their way past Quick. The trio has combined for four goals this series, but just one in game played at Honda Center.

The Kings will be happy to continue to get goals from wherever they come, as has been the case this series. Marian Gaborik leads the team with five goals, with Alec Martinez and Lewis having scored two. No other player has more than one.

But goals are likely to be at a premium on Friday and, as they say, it’s not how you win, it’s that you win. The team that doesn’t win Game 7 is in for a long summer.

Los Angeles Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks odds for 05/16/2014

Anaheim (-129) opened as the favorite over Los Angeles (+117) on the moneyline but the gap between the two has steadily been shrinking ahead of face-off on Friday.

The Ducks will have home ice-advantage, but the Kings have already won twice at Honda Center this series, which means that advantage could be anything but.

The Kings have a wealth of experience in important games over the last two years, which will give them the edge in terms of understanding the stresses and strains that come along with elimination games. It hasn’t always been that way.

Los Angeles is 5-4 all-time in Game 7s, and 6-6 in decisive games (including three-game and five-game series back in the day).

Anaheim meanwhile is 1-4 in Game 7s during its short franchise history, and has lost its last four.

All of this makes Los Angeles look like a tempting bet on Friday.

The total for the game sits at 5.

At this stage of the postseason, and certainly when a series comes down a decisive Game 7, defenses have been tightened and teams play a more not to lose, which makes the under seem like the smart bet.

This is borne out by the fact that four of the six meetings between the two Californian sides this postseason have seen the under pay out, while another finished in a push. This after both sides favored the over in the first round.

In short, take the under in a game that looks in all likelihood to be decided by one goal.

For a full list of today’s NHL playoff odds, click here.

For updated NHL futures odds (when available), click here.

For a selection of NHL team prop bets, click here.

For a selection of NHL player prop bets, click here.

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