The first of four games against L.A. was a big win for the Ducks, who dominated play from start to finish. The Anaheim offense came alive for the first time in eight games with a five goal outburst. Ryan Kesler led the way, but every line was generating chances and looking dangerous. Emerson Etem was flying, and Jakob Silfverberg borrowed Corey Perry's map to the back of the net. If it wasn't for some shoddy goaltending from Frederik Andersen and Jason LaBarbera, the Ducks might not have had to work so hard for the two points.
For the Kings, it's a game that they'd rather forget. A Stanley Cup Champion doesn't expect to lose a game where it puts up five goals. The Kings managed to do it. There's something to be said for all the adversity L.A. is facing right now, and how they've managed to avoid completely imploding. Still, I expect they'll be full of energy to overcome a tough loss.
It's a short trip from Ponda to Staples, right up the 5 with a cross town trip on the 10. If you decide to make the trip, jump off the 5 at Union Station and stop by Phillipe's for a double dipped beef [Ed Note: SECONDED, times a million -CK], or Cielito Lindo for the best taquitios in Los Angeles. Then remember to thank me in the comments.
Perry is skating on his own, but won't be back for at least another week according to coach Bruce Boudreau. Francois Beacuhemin is still laid out. Devante Smith-Pelley took a maintenance day, but he'll probably be ready for the game. Expect the same lineup for the Ducks.
Alec Martinez had finger surgery after blocking a shot in LA's 2-0 loss to Dallas, Thursday night. Robyn Regehr is trying to come back from an undisclosed injury, but if he's not ready for Anaheim this afternoon, the Kings will once again be forced to play a game with five defenseman.
What Can We Learn From This Game?
Probably how well Drew Doughty can play for 30 minutes a night. The Slava Voynov suspension has crippled this roster, and the injuries aren't helping. Not only that, it will be the third game in four days for the Kings. Any victory for the Ducks shouldn't be taken as progress against a contender at this point. Having said that, a loss wouldn't necessarily be detrimental either. This is a cornered L.A. team; they'll bring plenty of fight to the rink.
For the Ducks, it's a chance to see if the complete offensive performance from last game is repeatable. Will Etem generate more chances? Will Silf continue to hit the net? Can Kesler carry play for long stretches and keep the pressure off Getzlaf, who has to carry some younger players while his twin is sick? This is a chance for the young guys in the lineup to prove that they can sustain their output.
Emerson Etem finally gets PP minutes and has a multi-point night, mostly because Getzlaf will have a multi-point night.