Date: Friday, April 5th, 2019
Time: 7:00 PM PT
Location: Honda Center
TV: FS-W+, PRIME
Your Enemy: Jewels From the Crown
The Anaheim Ducks have had one hell of a season, to say the least, and to be quite literal. The Randy Carlyle era in Anaheim is finally done with and there is a lot of promising youth to look forward to for next season under a new coach. The future is bright in Anaheim, but before we can embrace the future, we have to wrap up the present.
The present (being the 2018-19 regular season) ends today for the Anaheim Ducks, as they host the Los Angeles Kings. The Ducks will be the first team in the NHL to ride off into the sunset for this regular season. All other 30 teams in the league will play again tomorrow in the league’s regular season finale, with only the Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens fighting for the last remaining spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Ducks have seen yet another season plagued by injuries and it really didn’t look all too different from recent seasons past. The Ducks are notorious for slow starts and their infamous post-Christmas push to fly past everyone in the standings claiming the Pacific Division title or at the very least, make the playoffs. However, with Randy Carlyle at the helm, it just wasn’t meant to be.
The post-Christmas period for the Ducks was arguably the most difficult of the season, as the Ducks went 2-16 from Christmas Day to February 10th, when Carlyle was finally relieved by Bob Murray. Since that firing, the Ducks have gone 13-12 in the last 25. Unfortunately, they would’ve needed a 25-0 run through those games to be in the playoff race, so the mood shifted to support of the tank in about January.
The Kings haven’t been good all season and they never showed any glimpse of hope for contention this year. The Ilya Kovalchuk situation has been handled laughably, Drew Doughty has stated that he can’t wait for the season to end, and this could be the last time we see Jonathan Quick with the Los Angeles Kings.
The game will more than likely still contain the fire of the rivalry, as both teams have nothing to lose and they’re playing for nothing more than pride at this point. The Ducks would love to end the season with a win in front of home fans, and the Kings would love nothing more than to ruin that entire moment for Anaheim, just for a good laugh.
Player to Watch
I am going to be watching Max Jones in this game. Jones has proven to be a bit of a nuisance to opponents, getting in players’ faces and getting under some people’s skin. He also finally recorded his second goal in the NHL with a beautiful backhand shot against Calgary on Wednesday. His physical presence and skill with the puck will make for great entertainment against a team like the Los Angeles Kings, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him net goal number three tonight.
Keys to the Game
1. Special Teams - Try not to take too many penalties. Not that the Kings are a threatening team (LA has the 27th-ranked power play), but I just really don’t like seeing Kings players get the calls they want.
2. Do It For Gibby - Gibson doesn’t deserve the 25-22-8 record he holds on the season. He had arguably the best season of his career and got absolutely dumped on by the Anaheim defense in front of him through mid-March. Give the man one last win and let him leave with some off-season dignity.
3. Just Win, Baby - Beating the Kings is a glorious feeling. Just do it and we’ll deal with the draft lottery odds when they come into play on April 9th. At this point, the Ducks can only fall as far as 26th in the NHL, having the 6th-best odds to win the lottery. The difference between 6th and 8th (where they currently sit) isn’t enough for me to want to see LA win.