By Kyle Shohara
The preseason continues tonight as the Ducks travel up the freeway to take on the Kings at Staples Center.
It’s the sixth of seven preseason games for Anaheim, currently 3-2-0 thus far. For the Ducks, tonight serves as another opportunity to fine tune their game before the regular season begins next Wednesday in Colorado.
“I just want to keep the progress going up here,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau. “I know we didn’t win the last game, but we did a lot of good things. We just want to keep upgrading every day with what we have, and the way we do things systems-wise. You saw us working on those things this morning.
"We want to continue getting better at that. We’ve got another week to work on it, so by the time October 2nd comes around, we’re ready to roll.”
The Kings have become one of the more dominant home teams in the league, especially against the Ducks. For Anaheim to come out of Staples Center with a victory tonight, a good start is critical.
“The first 5-10 minutes,” said Cam Fowler, emphasizing the importance of starting well. “If you can get out of that first period with a tie or better, you have a good chance of doing what you want to do. They’re a strong team in their own building. They always seem to come out guns a’ blazing. We know what we’re up against, and I know everyone will be prepared for it.”
Adds Fowler, “Any time you go up against the Kings, you know you’re going to be in for a fight. I know everyone’s ready.”
Nick Bonino says tonight’s game gives the Ducks an opportunity to send a lasting message. “You want to set the tone for the year,” he said. “Tonight will be the last time we see them for a bit. We’d love to go in there and get a win.”
Indeed, the Ducks and Kings don’t face each other in the regular season until December 3, the first of five matchups between the rivals – including the outdoor game at Dodger Stadium on January 25.
On the keys to tonight’s game, Bonino emphasized textbook road hockey. “Just play smart, get the puck in, and try to grind them down,” he said. “We’re going to go in and look to compete, look to get our systems going, and get a win.”
The Ducks will conclude the preseason against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday at Honda Center.