Game Day Preview #81, Los Angeles Kings @ Anaheim Ducks

Once more, to Anaheim.


Game Time: 7:00 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports West
Radio: iHeart Radio
The Opposition: Anaheim Calling

The Opposition

For one last time this season, we greet our frenemies, the Anaheim Ducks, this time on the road. It’s been a truly miserable season for both squads, where the biggest moments of joy have come in discovering what the next generation of players brings to the ice (including Sam Steel and Troy Terry for the Ducks and Carl Grundstrom and Austin Wagner for the Kings) and celebrating milestones for iconic players (Ryan Kesler and Anze Kopitar each reaching the 1000 game mark; Dustin Brown taking over the franchise lead in games played).

The Ducks, playing in their last game of the season, are probably just as eager to end things as the Kings are. And while no one’s making Drew Doughty-esque comments over in Anaheim about wanting the season to be over with, it’s probably not too far from the truth for them, either.

The Ducks have been playing better hockey as of late, winning six of their past ten. It’s almost like when they were freed of the burden of this terrible season, they started to play a little lighter. And while they’re just playing out the string, same as the Kings are, they’re getting more good performance out of their squad than bad.

We’ll see what that all means come Ping Pong Ball Day, I guess.

John Gibson starts tonight, and while he’s come down from his Vezina-quality start, he’s still a formidable opponent in net. And, much as the Kings will take any opportunity to triumph over the Ducks, so will the Kings. In a meaningless game, look for the Ducks to play with pride and determination as they end their season on home ice.

The Kings

With the Kings finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel — they end their season tomorrow night at home — there’s only one stop left on the road, and it’s Anaheim. The Kings are looking to sweep the season with the Ducks, which would be a real feel-good story in a season without many feels at all. But two points tonight would make the Kings’ quest for Jack Hughes a little bit harder — two points tonight would move the Kings into 29th place, ahead of the idle New Jersey Devils.

Do you want that? Do you want the tank? Do you want these teams to play each other into oblivion, an endless three-on-three overtime until they both just agree to go home?

There is no easy answer.

There are only the Kings, mediocre at best this season, and Jack Campbell in net tonight, the one player on the team who doesn’t seem to have gotten the notice that the tank is on.

(Yes, yes, we know: Players don’t tank, management does.)

The Kings cruised to a win on Tuesday against the Arizona Coyotes, effectively putting the last nail in the coffin of the Coyotes’ playoff bid. They did it with Campbell in net, and with the season ending and the back-up getting one last chance to make his case to be a starter, the Kings front office will have a lot to consider over the summer about the future of the franchise and the future in net.

But for now, we play on.

No real word on the lineup, as the Kings held an optional practice this morning. Kurtis MacDermid skated and could possibly be in.

Lineup Notes

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