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Game Day Preview #46, Los Angeles Kings @ Anaheim Ducks

FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Los Angeles Kings Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Preview: Los Angeles Kings (24-16-5) @ Anaheim Ducks (21-16-9)

Game Day Watch: How to Watch and What to Watch

We just saw these guys, didn’t we? And it started stupid and it ended stupid, so.

You know, after some thought, that sounds a lot like last night’s Kings’ game, too.

Here’s a few storylines to watch for tonight.

Drop the Gloves

Between the 2:29 mark and the 2:33 mark of the last Kings/Ducks game, there were three fights, followed slightly over a minute later by the Andrew Cogliano hit on Adrian Kempe. Some of the fights were in retribution from the matchup prior — Andreoff and Bieksa certainly went because of the quick way their fight ended previously, and MacDermid was drawn into a fight because that’s just what MacDermid does.

And you’d think that maybe these teams could have gotten all of that out of their system so that now, they could just play hockey.

Only there was the Cogliano hit, which some segments of the fanbase are clamoring for a fists-up reckoning over. There was also a hit by Drew Doughty that some are saying should have been looked at for discipline, and so now people want blood-or-fists for that, too.

This isn’t an opinion column, this is a game preview, so you can come to Twitter for all of my hot takes on Fighting in Hockey. Instead, I’ll just say: this game will probably have several very tiresome fights which will do nothing to sway the momentum either way. I wouldn’t be surprised if Andreoff went into the lineup and Brodzinski came out, just because of the team’s seeming desire to have additional “grit” in the lineup. (Paul LaDue and Torrey Mitchell were the other scratches; LaDue will likely continue to sit, but there’s a possibility Mitchell will draw back in over Amadio.)

Suspension-gate

Andrew Cogliano returns from his two-game suspension tonight. The suspension caused even more divided opinions than usual, given that it ended Cogliano’s games-played streak. Of course the Ducks’ narrative is that the suspension wasn’t warranted, and Cogliano’s given several impassioned statements about it in the interim.

But the Kings have their own suspension brou-ha-ha to deal with, given the non-suspension of Dustin Brown after his cross-check on Justin Schultz last night. For what it’s worth, sentiments around the JFTC Twitter-verse last night leaned towards Brown deserving a suspension.

So expect heavy talk from the Ducks side comparing the two hits and decrying the fact that Brown’s in and Cogliano was forced to sit out. They’ve already got some of their best and brightest on the case, after all.

Who Wants To Play With A Lead?

Remember when the Kings used to lead in games? Remember that blissful time earlier in the season where we felt some level of confidence that they had the game under control? That sure was nice. I miss that feeling, much like I miss sunshine and not having to wear four layers of clothing when I go outside.

After losing five in a row, the Kings have to come out with a sense of urgency. Getting the first goal would be nice. Getting several more, and then keeping that lead, would be even better.

But urgency only gets you so far when a stinker of a goal slips between your goalie’s legs. Jonathan Quick’s other-worldly performances — we’ll always have that Montreal game — couldn’t possibly be sustained the whole season, but he’s been giving up more than his fair share of weak goals. We’ll most likely see Darcy Kuemper tonight, who’s been good in his limited minutes; his loss against the Sharks could be pinned more on the poor team effort in front of him than any major errors on his part.

So:

  1. Urgency
  2. Goalie Don’t Fail Me Now
  3. ???
  4. Profit!!! (or +2 points, you know whatever)

Projected Line Combinations

Los Angeles Kings

Kempe - Kopitar - Brown
Pearson - Lewis - Toffoli
Iafallo - Shore - Gaborik
Clifford - Amadio - Brodzinski

Forbort - Doughty
Muzzin - Martinez
Gravel - Folin

Kuemper
(Quick)

Anaheim Ducks

Rakell - Getzlaf - Perry
Cogliano - Kesler - Silfverberg
Ritchie - Henrique - Kase
Wagner - Vermette - Brown

Fowler - Bieksa
Lindholm - Manson
Beauchemin - Montour

Gibson
(Miller)

Opposing Preview: Anaheim Calling