After an exciting 2-1 win, the Anaheim Ducks head to Dodger Stadium to battle the Los Angeles Kings. If you were able to watch NHL Network's coverage of the practice for each team it seems that the ice conditions will not be a problem. Bruce Boudreau did say that he thinks they will have to take shorter shifts to avoid fatigue in the outdoor conditions.
Keys to the Game: One huge key will be for the Ducks to stay focused on the game amid a packed Dodger Stadium crowd. Expect both teams to be a little nervous during the first few minutes of the game. But, much like Thursday night at Honda Center, this game is expected to be hard-hitting and fast-paced.
As game time draws closer we should get word about the condition of Bryan Allen, who left Thursday's game after taking a hard hit. If Allen sits out the game, Luca Sbisa could see his first game action since going on injured reserve with a broken hand earlier in the season. It will be interesting to see if Boudreau decides to make any changes to the forward lines after sitting Daniel WInnik and Kyle Palmieri in favor of Patrick Maroon and Tim Jackman. Both Jackman and Maroon had a great game against the Kings, and I wouldn't be surprised if Bruce decides to go with the same group of forwards for round two.
Jonas Hiller and Frederik Andersen took part in the Friday practice at Dodger Stadium, but there has yet to be an update regarding who will start the game on Saturday. Andersen made 30 saves on 31 shots in the win on Thursday, and Hiller was pulled in his last start against the Winnipeg Jets. This is definitely a game that Hiller would want to play in, but after losing his last two starts (away at Chicago and at home versus Winnipeg) it wouldn't be a total shock to see Andersen try to improve his already impressive 13-2-0 record.
What Can We Learn From This Game: This game will be as close as it gets to playing a playoff game against a playoff opponent. The crowd will be huge, the game will be nationally televised and the Ducks and Kings are two of the best teams in the league. Both teams are going to want to win this game, and the Kings (now 17 points behind the No.1 Ducks after Thursday's loss) will have even more motivation to do so.
This is what Ducks fans can learn, but what is even more important is that both Southern California teams have an opportunity to show the league how great they are. Once they get past the ice melting jokes in the pregame show, I'm sure that the Ducks and Kings will put on a great display of what hockey is all about on the
best west coast.
Fearless Prediction: Bruce Boudreau wears a snazzy Hawaiian shirt underneath his suit and is forced to reveal it after sweating within the first minute of the game.
Stay tuned here for updates throughout the day (lineup news, etc.) and start commenting. We'll have a quick stats pack shortly before puck drop for the in-game comments to flow.