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Ducks at Kings PREVIEW: Rakell Has Come Home

Anaheim’s young center returns to the lineup for the first time after signing his new 6-year contract.

Anaheim Ducks v Los Angeles Kings Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Game #10

Anaheim Ducks @ Los Angeles Kings

Tuesday Novemeber 1, 2016 7:30 PM PST

Staples Center


Radio: AM 830, 790 KABC

Your Enemy: Jewels From The Crown

Going 2-1-1 in your previous four games isn’t too bad. Anaheim handily beat Vancouver and Nashville by a combined score of 10-3. The San Jose game in between wasn’t terrible either. Anaheim managed to leave NorCal with a point in a game that felt like they had no business winning. However, in their last game before a long Halloween weekend, Anaheim looked pedestrian at best. A four-goal first period against Columbus put the Ducks in a hole early that they never got out of. While Anaheim was able to cut down on the Blue Jacket’s shot attempts in the final two periods, they were nowhere near dangerous enough on offense to close the gap. A 10-minute stretch in the third period in which Anaheim only had three shot attempts was the final nail in the coffin for the Ducks who were shutout by an inferior Columbus club.

Tonight, against the division rival LA Kings, Anaheim will look to have a much better first period defensively and hopefully break an over 80-minute goalless streak. Rikard Rakell will make his much-anticipated return to the Anaheim lineup after signing a new six-year deal. While I don’t expect Rakell to immediately light things up and look like he didn’t miss any time, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rakell carry a line with Wagner and Vermette on his wings. It could take Anaheim’s young center a few games to get back into the groove of things, but don’t be surprised if he finds his way on the score-sheet in the next two contests.

At the other end of the ice, Los Angeles is still reeling from all the injuries they have suffered in the young season. With Quick, Gaborik, Zatkoff, and McNabb all on IR, this Kings team has struggled to find its footing early in the season. Peter Budaj will most likely get the start for the silver and black as he has actually looked good in 6 games with the big club (4-2-0, 1.99 GAA, .916 SV%). Los Angeles, like Anaheim, followed a win over Nashville last week with a shutout loss of their own to St. Louis. The Kings will look to follow the lead of their newest captain, Anze Kopitar, to try and win this year’s first edition of the Freeway Faceoff. Expect a physical game without a ton of scoring.

Fearless Prediction: Rakell assists on the game-winning powerplay goal and Anaheim heads home with a 2-1 win.