NBCSN will feature a doubleheader for Wednesday Night Rivalry. In the second half of the event, the Anaheim Ducks will host the Los Angeles Kings at 10:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.
The Ducks have won their division in back-to-back seasons and might claim it a third time in 2014-15, but that doesn’t mean much without playoff success. The Kings are the embodiment of the team the Ducks want to be as well as a squad they might have to best in the playoffs in order to raise the Stanley Cup.
The road to the Cup for the Ducks went through Los Angeles last year and they came tantalizingly close to eliminating the Kings and advancing to the Western Conference Final. Anaheim established a 3-2 series lead, but the Kings rebounded. For the first time since that series, Anaheim has an opportunity to fire back.
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“I think they’re the team to beat. End of story,” Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano told the Los Angeles Times.
The timing isn’t great for the Ducks though as they’ve narrowly dropped their last three games and are missing Corey Perry and Francois Beauchemin due to a viral gland infection.
“You’re taking the No. 1 goal scorer in the league out of your lineup,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said, per the team’s website. “[Perry] is a threat and a guy the other team talks about in the room. And you have your leader on defense [out], so that’s a concern, especially this year because he’s played so well for us.”
Anaheim is far from hopeless though. This game will still feature two very effective forwards on the Ducks’ side in Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler, the latter of which will be getting his first taste of the Ducks-Kings rivalry.
This game also might feature Frederik Andersen, who has been one of the most effective young goaltenders in the league this season with a 1.56 GAA and .943 save percentage. He played against the Kings three times last season and won all of those contests with a 1.62 GAA and .949 save percentage. He also appeared in one game during the Ducks-Kings playoff series, stopping 22 of 23 shots in 49:50 minutes of work.
Los Angeles will counter with an offense that broke out of its recent funk with a 5-1 victory over Vancouver on Saturday. It was Marian Gaborik’s first multi-point game of the season. He got off to a slow start after returning from an upper-body injury, but perhaps he’s hitting his stride just in time to continue his torment of Anaheim. He had six goals and 10 points against the Ducks in the 2014 postseason series.
Of course, that success is in the past now. The next chapter of the Ducks-Kings rivalry has the potential to be an intense war and the first battle of it will be fought tonight.