Saturday was a work day for the Ducks, who convened at The Rinks - Anaheim ICE to prepare for tomorrow night's contest against the LA Kings at Honda Center. On the ice with the team was rookie left wing Ondrej Kase, who was recalled earlier today from the San Diego Gulls. The 21-year-old had a thrilling game-tying goal last night with 1:01 remaining in regulation in what turned out to be a 3-2 shootout victory over the San Jose Barracuda at Valley View Casino Center.
Kase is taking the place of Joseph Cramarossa, who suffered a lower-body injury in the first period of Anaheim's 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night at Honda Center. Kase appeared in two career NHL games with Anaheim this season and today took line rushes with Antoine Vermette and Rickard Rakell. The trio will take the ice tomorrow night, as confirmed by head coach Randy Carlyle.
"It's great for me," Kase said, on being recalled by the Ducks. "Tomorrow is a big game. I'm so happy to be in the NHL."
Cramarossa was not on the ice today, nor were defensemen Kevin Bieksa (illness) and Clayton Stoner (lower body). Carlyle says Stoner will be re-evaluated tomorrow morning. Korbinian Holzer will replace Stoner if the veteran d-man is unable to play.
Video: Randy Carlyle on 3-on-3 practice and Ondrej Kase
It's no secret the Ducks have struggled in overtime this season. Anaheim is winless in three attempts, so the coaching staff dedicated a good portion of practice on that area of the game.
"When you're 0-3, you have to pay attention to it," said Carlyle. "We tried to mix some people up. It's more about possession and waiting for your opportunity. It's a tough change. You get breakaways off line changes. We have to manage the puck more effectively. When we get an opportunity, we need to drain it. We're going to implement a couple different groupings and involve some defensemen."
Those defensemen include Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen, who Carlyle says will see plenty of ice during the five-minute sudden death session. Carlyle didn't rule out the idea of using a combination of two of them at the same time, either.
The Ducks and Kings will renew pleasantries tomorrow night in what is expected to be a raucous atmosphere inside Honda Center. Tomorrow will mark the second game in the season series that opened with a 4-0 Ducks victory at Staples Center on November 1.
"It's probably one of the best rivalries I've ever played in," said Ryan Kesler. "It's always a fun game to play. It's going to be another intense game. Every game is hard-fought. It's about whoever executes better, whoever is more physical and dominates. That's the team that's going to win."
Practice Line Combinations