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Kings @ Ducks: A Tale of Two Cities

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The Kings and Ducks are moving in very different directions heading into the NHL trade deadline

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Ducks and Kings last met in Los Angeles. Sami Vatanen scored with about 7 minutes left, and the Ducks ultimately won in a shootout.  The playoff meeting last season has taken this rivalry to a new level, although the hate between fans probably never needed the extra prodding.

Still, the story tonight is two teams moving in two different directions. The Ducks are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games and have miserable showings against some potential playoff opponents. On top of that, the Ducks have obvious holes in the roster that need to be filled, but GM Bob Murray's disdain for rental prices has forced him to watch from the sidelines (so far) while his competition for the Cup has improved. Meanwhile, the Kings are 8-2 in their last 10 and seem to be performing one of their typical late season surges into the playoffs.  Their 8-game win streak was halted by the Ottawa Senators last night. Sidenote:The Sens blanked the Kings and Ducks on back-to-back nights, and that's something. Lombardi also went and got the top-4 defender his team has needed, in the form of Andrej Sekera. Hopefully, a game against the Kings can inspire the Ducks to get back on track.

Game Notes:

Nate Thompson has some lower body pain that might make him a question mark for tonight. The Ducks called up Chris Wagner as insurance, and he might draw into the lineup. The usual game is still in effect though: Where will Boudreau's wheel of wingers land? As of this writing, there's no word on who among the Rene Bourque, Emerson Etem, Tim Jackman and Jiri Sekac carousel will draw in. You have to think the newly acquired Sekac comes back, and Etem will probably continue to get his look through the lineup, so maybe it's just between Jackman and Bourque. Personally, I prefer Jackman, he's less likely to get random looks on the higher lines.

In recent news this morning, the Ducks have sent Jason LaBarbera back to Norfolk, but according to the beat writers John Gibson still appears to be starting with Frederik Andersen backing up tonight.

Sekera will most likely make his debut for L.A. tonight. Otherwise, it's likely we see the same team that played Ottawa last night. Alec Martinez is a solid defenseman who is still on IR with concussion symptoms, and of course Tanner Person is still out with that broken Fibula

What Can We Learn From This Game:

We can learn if there's anything left in the tank. The Ducks have looked listless for this entire month. AC contributor Kid Ish's recent work on forward deployment might tell part of that story. If the Twins are exhausted from having to carry the lion's share of the production, it might explain their recent slump. The Ducks need to start making a push for the playoffs. Not necessarily winning games, but more showing that they have the passion and focus to make a deep run.

Fearless Prediction:

Boudreau decides to energize the Twins by letting a hungry Emerson Etem play with them. Etem has a goal and an assist.