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Ducks vs Kings PREVIEW: Just Win, Baby

This is a crucial Freeway Faceoff for the Ducks, and two points should be the only goal

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Anaheim Ducks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Game #47

Anaheim Ducks vs. Los Angeles Kings

Friday, January 19th, 7:00 PM PST

Honda Center


Radio: AM 830

Your Enemy: Jewels From the Crown

The Anaheim Ducks will look to keep their homestand moving along nicely after opening with a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. They will host the Los Angeles Kings in a Friday night showdown, who are coming off a 3-1 loss to those very same Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Kings have now lost five consecutive games and a loss to the Anaheim Ducks would tie both teams at 53 points and a three-way tie for the second Wild Card spot with the Colorado Avalanche.

The Ducks are in game two of a five-game homestand that could really prove to be very influential on whether or not they make the postseason, as well as what position they would hold in the standings moving into the playoffs. Starting off with a win over the Pittsburgh Penguins is a good start, but a win against a Pacific Division rival would be so much better.

There really is no other way to view this game. Win and put yourself in a playoff position. Lose and find yourself 4+ points back by the time the homestand continues on Sunday against the San Jose Sharks.

All Eyes On Me

The player I will be watching is Ryan Kesler, for a few reasons. First, the return of Andrew Cogliano to the Ducks lineup will see Kesler reunited with his normal linemates. Second, his reputation as Kingkiller will be put to the test in a very crucial matchup and arguably the most important Freeway Faceoff since Game 7 of the playoff series a few years ago. Ryan Kesler has yet to really emerge as his normal self since his return from injury this season, but this game provides him a great opportunity to do just that.

Keys to the Game

1. Cut Kevin Bieksa’s Minutes - Why does he still get to play as often as he does? Does anybody have a justifiable reason for this? Does Randy Carlyle even have a justifiable reason for this at this point?

2. Capitalize on Facing Darcy Kuemper - Jonathan Quick got the start against Pittsburgh on Thursday night, so I think it would be safe to say that the Ducks will be seeing Darcy Kuemper on Friday night.

3. Seriously, Don’t Let Kevin Bieksa Have the Puck - Imagine a world where all the minutes that Kevin Bieksa spends turning the puck over to guys like Evgeni Malkin get applied to a better, younger defenseman with potential. What a life.