By Kyle Shohara
Fresh off a 6-2 preseason-opening victory last night against the Coyotes, the Ducks are right back at it with a contest against the visiting Los Angeles Kings tonight at Honda Center.
After getting booed on home ice following a 5-1 loss to the Coyotes on Sunday (and also losing a split-squad game in Glendale, Arizona on the same day), head coach Bruce Boudreau expects a much different Kings team tonight.
“Let’s face it, L.A. lost 5-1 the other night,” he said. “They’re going to send all their boys here tonight. Knowing [Kings head coach] Darryl [Sutter], they’re going to get back on track and want to show everybody they’re the Los Angeles Kings.”
Boudreau said he thought his team performed “okay” on some of the implemented systems last night, but knows there’s room for improvement. “We can do a better job on some of the stuff again today,” he said. “[With] the guys watching video, maybe we can curtail some of the mistakes we made last night against a much better team.”
With the Ducks in the midst of playing three games in three nights and still carrying 53 players on their roster, expect plenty of preseason debuts tonight, including forward Devante Smith-Pelly.
“I just want to play my game,” he said. “Just go out there and do what I have to do to make a good impression, and hopefully we have a good team effort tonight.
“Although it's preseason, we don’t really like each other,” he said, in reference to the animosity between the Ducks and Kings. “I expect a pretty fast paced, physical game.”
Another player hoping to make an impression is rugged forward Patrick Maroon. After making his NHL debut last season and earning the 2012-13 Norfolk Admirals Player of the Year award, Maroon is battling with a handful of forwards for a roster spot.
“Every game for me counts,” he said. “I need to make my impression, and you can’t go unnoticed out here.” Maroon also said he even treats scrimmages like real games because every opportunity counts. “Get pucks out, get pucks in,” he said, on his game plan for tonight. “Use my size down low in the offensive zone, use my hands, and create offense for my linemates.”
Yesterday, Teemu Selanne said he uses the preseason as a chance to get back into game shape, and today, Corey Perry offered similar thoughts. “You just try to get back into tip-top form,” he said. “You can go all summer not hitting, not doing the little things that happen in a game, like positional play and trying the systems. That’s what preseason is all about.”