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Game Day Preview #24, Anaheim Ducks @ Los Angeles Kings

Just a nice relaxing game to end your Saturday night.

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Anaheim Ducks Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Preview: Anaheim Ducks (10-9-3) @ Los Angeles Kings (12-8-3)

Game Time: 7:30 PM, FS-W

We’ll make this a quick one, as yours truly is just waiting for the cold medication to kick in so she can go back to sleep.

Here’s five things to think about before tonight’s game.

1. I was just going back through some old posts of mine here for archiving purposes and it was around this same time last year that a.) Marian Gaborik returned from injury b.) the Kings suffered several embarrassing and highly preventable losses and c.) Jeff Carter, man of few words and even fewer to the media, actually called out his team’s atrocious performance after a loss to what I think was Buffalo. Anyway, I miss Jeff Carter.

2. No likely changes for the Kings tonight, other than the possibility that Kurtis MacDarmid may draw back in. In what’s sure to be a physical game, his presence may be desired. But then again, last time these two teams met, MacDermid threw a less-than-good hit on Ducks forward Ondrej Kase; Kase hasn’t played since then. If MacDermid draws in, he almost certainly is going to get drawn into a fight because of it. These two teams already don’t like each other; MacDermid in the lineup is just going to inflame that even further. (Expect Mike Liambas to drop the gloves if he’s in the lineup for Anaheim; Liambas is familiar to AHL watchers as an enforcer who has spent time in Milwaukee and Rockford. Last season in Milwaukee, Liambas accumulated 149 penalty minutes, the most in the AHL, a category that he’s almost always a leader in.)

3. Both teams are coming off back-to-backs; the Ducks lost 4-1 to the Jets. Francois Beauchemin scored the lone goal for the Ducks in the loss. I suppose the difference is that the Ducks actually lost to a legitimate team, while the Kings lost to the Coyotes. Ducks/Kings games are never quite displays of dazzling speed, and this one won’t be any different. If players look extra like they’re skating in quicksand, don’t be surprised.

4. Ryan Miller most likely gets the start tonight, with John Gibson having played last night against Winnipeg. Miller got into about ten minutes of action against the Kings the last time they met, replacing Gibson, who took some contact to the head and left the game. He was quite strong in relief, particularly in overtime, but he couldn’t stop this one:

5. Marian Gaborik had a strong game last night against the Coyotes, playing just under 14 minutes and setting up Anze Kopitar for the Kings’ first goal. This is maybe one of the more idealistic things I’ve said on this site, I know, but maybe a rejuvenated Gaborik, playing in limited but important minutes, could be a catalyst for the back end of this team to get their act together.

Stranger things have happened.

Projected Line Combinations

Los Angeles Kings

Iafallo - Kopitar - Toffoli
Pearson - Kempe - Brown
Andreoff - Shore - Lewis
Gaborik - Jokinen - Brodzinski

Muzzin - Doughty
Fantenberg - Martinez
Forbort - Folin

Quick
(Kuemper)

Anaheim Ducks

Rakell - Grant - Perry
Cogliano - Wagner - Silfverberg
Ritchie - Vermette - Roy
Liambas - Rasmussen - Shaw

Lindholdm - Manson
Fowler - Vatanen
Beauchemin - Montour

Miller
(Gibson)

Opposing Preview: Anaheim Calling