The Kings take on a California rival for the first time this season, as they face the 4-1-1 Anaheim Ducks on the road. At the very least, it will be more exciting than Thursday's game. That's a promise.
Time: 7:00 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports West (Bob and Jim), Fox Sports Prime Ticket (other guys)
Ducks (projected) lineup:
Scratches: Rakell, Staubitz, Vatamen
Kings (projected) lineup:
Scratches: Richardson, Bodnarchuk, King
Injured: Greene (back), Mitchell (knee)
- Shocking, I know, but the current popular topic of discussion around the Kings: How will they get this offense going? Darryl Sutter noted: "We're still not getting that goal or the players that we need to count on to score the goal." Case in point: only Jeff Carter (3) and Anze Kopitar (2) have more than one goal in six games this season. By comparison, the Ducks have five players with multiple goals. That group includes the usual suspects, as well as a leading scorer perhaps best known for his shorts.
- Despite scoring with the man advantage in each of the last two games, the Kings have the worst power play percentage in the league. The Ducks rank 28th on the penalty kill; they've allowed a goal on nearly one-third of their shorthanded situations. Something's gotta give.
- Dustin Penner returns to the ice against his old team, replacing Dwight King and slotting into the second line. As has usually been the case, the second line was the team's strongest on Thursday, and both Kyle Clifford and Simon Gagne played well on Mike Richards' left wing. But the team has still struggled to score, so Sutter tries going back to the top 6 we saw in the playoffs. It's not Penner's first healthy scratch, and he needs some goals to prevent it from happening again.
- Jonas Hiller will start the second of back-to-back games for the Anaheim Ducks, after Viktor Fasth won his second straight start yesterday. Hiller has struggled this year and currently carries a 3.43 GAA into tonight. He had a decent showing on Wednesday against the Sharks, but he allowed a soft goal to Logan Couture which tied the game late. Nonetheless, the Ducks are scoring, so Hiller may not need to be at his best. Jonathan Quick, on the other hand...
- Long Beach native Emerson Etem plays in his third NHL game. Etem was selected 29th overall in the 2010 NHL Draft, which took place in Los Angeles. The Kings traded up into the first round that year, and the arena buzzed with the possibility that LA might select a hometown kid. But the Kings chose a defenseman (Derek Forbort) with the 15th pick, and the Ducks chose Etem with their second selection (after #12 pick Cam Fowler).
The game is in Anaheim, so a good turnout by Kings fans might help influence the outcome. But the onus remains on the players to score because, seriously, goals. It'll be tough - Jonas Hiller has a 2.37 GAA in 18 career games against Los Angeles - but it's doable. With all the Kings' struggles, they're still undefeated in the division! And if they do well enough in these games, we might not have to dwell on losses to Nashville and Edmonton and Colorado later on. Right? Right.
Watch the Kings and Ducks begin the race to become the first California team with two Cups tonight!
(The Sharks? Ha!)
(But seriously, they've peaked too early. Totally not how you do it.)
(Go Kings Go.)