Kings Roster Notes: (IN) Marco Sturm had an assist on Kopitar's goal in the last game against the Ducks, a 4-1 win on December 26th. You may also remember him as the smiling German they pushed in games and practice until they noticed him limping off the team bus. Welcome back, Marco! May you score many goals, and stay gesund! Westgarth and Drewiske are also in the lineup. (OUT) Ponikarovsky, Martinez, and Harrold are healthy scratches. Injuries: Parse's hip labrum was almost well...until it wasn't.
Ducks Roster Notes: (IN) McElhinney will start in goal; Ray Emery was recalled from Syracuse to serve as a backup. Francois Beauchemin and Jarko Ruutu are recent additions via trade (the latter added to ensure that the douche level of team would reach critical mass). Ryan Getzlaf's child was delivered today (congrats!) and he will play tonight. Expect him to come out with a lot of jump; he's still elated his kid was born with hair. (OUT) Sad heroic hipster zombie Jonas Hiller (vertigo), Timo Pielmeier (reassigned to Syracuse).
The Kings are 2nd in the league in giving up shots against (27.8/game), while Ducks are 27th (33.3). In other words, when the Ducks lose, it's not all on the goaltenders. After the backup McElhinney was subjected to another blowout, the Ducks coach emphasized the entire team needed to play better, and spent the last two days hounding them in practices. The Kings are also coming off an embarrassing effort at the tail end of their East coast swing, and are looking to regroup.
Discipline will be important: Anaheim ranks just 26th in scoring 5v5, and relies on a fantastic power play conversion rate to make up for it (22.9%). With pests like Perry, Ruutu, and Lapierre causing havoc, the Kings had better keep their tempers under control and their heads up.
The season series is split 1-1. This is the first of four remaining games against our feathered foes. Every match from here on out will be played against rivals in the Western conference. The Kings are in the usual logjam for a playoff spot at the moment, but their fate is in their hands. Time to answer the bell.