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Preseason Preview #6: Anaheim Ducks @ Los Angeles Kings

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The all-important last pre-season game gives the Kings one last look at their young players competing to be in the opening day line-up.

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

This is it, this is for all the marbles —- wait, sorry. I’ve been informed that this is yet another meaningless preseason game and that the hockey season hasn’t even started yet. Ahem. Carry on, then.

HOW TO WATCH

Game Time: 7:30 PM Pacific
TV: NHL Network, Prime Ticket
Radio: iHeart Radio
The Opposition: Anaheim Calling

BUT FIRST, SOME THOUGHTS ON YESTERDAY’S GAME

  • Last night’s B-team performance against the Vegas Golden Knights was good but not good enough. The Golden Knights had one goal that was a tip in that probably would have gotten past a lot of goalies, not just Jack Campbell; the second was an empty netter with three seconds left. (Thanks but no thanks, Brayden McNabb.) Holding an NHL-ready squad to just one puck getting behind a goalie, and a tip-in at that, is more than you could have ever asked from a Kings squad without any of its superstars, but someday, somehow, this team is going to have to figure out how to score on Vegas.
  • Alex Iafallo is a treat to watch. Despite the promise of putting Kovalchuk up alongside Anze Kopitar, it’s looking more and more like he’ll be on Jeff Carter’s wing, and that Iafallo’s going to get another season to blossom alongside Kopitar. I can’t say that I hate it.

WHO AND WHAT TO WATCH

  • We’ve been talking a lot about Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Austin Wagner in these previews, and with good reason. Per Jon Rosen, it really seems like the team’s final decision is going to come down between JAD and Wagner. (That leaves Emerson Etem, who has performed admirably throughout training camp, potentially on the outside looking in.) Wagner’s really blossomed this year; it took him a while to get going last season after dealing with an injury at the start of the season, so we haven’t really been able to see this sort of performance from him before. Look for both players to get extended looks tonight.
  • After the defensive debacle that was the 7-4 game against the Ducks earlier this week, it will be refreshing to see the Kings play with what’s essentially the opening night roster. Going to go out on a limb with a hot take and say that it’s doubtful we’ll have a 7-4 score again.
  • With a more reasonable NHL lineup tonight, keep an eye on a few things on how the Kings use Dion Phaneuf. He showed he’s still a contributor on the power play against Anaheim, but he was also a -4 in that game. To his credit, he spent most of his time with Kale Clague, who had a rough outing against the Ducks. Finding the right defensive partner for Phaneuf is going to be critical to keep his lack of foot-speed from being too much of a detriment.
  • No lineups to speak of yet, but Derek Forbort is confirmed to be in the lineup. Tonight’s roster should be essentially what the Kings start the season with on Friday.

LINEUPS

Los Angeles Kings

Surprise!

Anaheim Ducks

Rakell - Getzlaf - Terry
Comtois - Henrique - Silfverberg
Cogliano - Steel - Kase
Street - Rowney - Sherwood

Fowler - Manson
Lindholm - Montour
Pettersson - Schenn

Gibson
Miller