Kings/Ducks: Game #81 Preview
Kings Roster Notes: (IN) Jonathan Quick (2.23 GAA, .919 SV%). There are no line shuffles to report. (OUT) Peter Harrold, Davis Drewiske, Scott Parse, Justin Williams, Anze Kopitar.
Ducks Roster Notes (IN) Dan Ellis (2.86 GAA, .893 SV% with the Ducks) is presumed to be the starter from the Ducks, as Ray Emery left the Sharks game with a lower body injury and did not practice this morning; Randy Carlyle was evasive about who would start, however. If role-player Todd Marchant is unable to overcome the flu, Kyle Chipchurra might play. (OUT) Jonas Hiller.
It's the biggest game before the biggest game of the season. Welcome to the So Cal mini-playoffs.
I noted before that in terms of ice time, the 'top line' wasn't tops. Brown and Handzus led all forwards vs. Phoenix, continuing that trend. But the young guys are still getting a shot. Brad Richardson had more minutes Jarret Stoll, and that...still seems weird. Stolly is to be commended for getting 6 shots on net and scoring a goal anyway, and for having a marvelous celebration to boot. While Trevor Lewis continues to languish in fourth line purgatory (7 minutes at even strength), TM seems to have confidence in rolling the rest.
As the Ducks will be able to make the last change, every line will need to turn in a stellar defensive performance. Anaheim's top line, spurred by the Abhorrent Corey Perry's 22 points in the last 10 games, is one of the most dangerous lines in the league at the moment. The likes of Teemu Selanne and Lubomir Visnovsky pose offensive threats as well. The Ducks still give up more shots than they put on net on average -- even during this recent stretch of play -- so hopefully the Kings will be able to capitalize on that.
100 points would solidify their hold on 4th place -- more important to the Kings than perhaps any other team. And there would be much rejoicing.