By Kyle Shohara
Although tonight’s game will feature a fairly heavy NHL-caliber lineup on Anaheim’s end, Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau confirmed it will not feature speedy left wing Carl Hagelin.
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Boudreau says nothing is wrong, health-wise, with the 27-year-old Swede. “We know what Carl can do,” he said. “Two games will be more than enough for a guy of his speed and everything else. There are other guys with decisions to be made, guys we’d like to see. We’ve talked to Carl about it, and he’s totally on board.”
One of those players could be 19-year-old Nick Ritchie, who made it through a big round of cuts (23, to be exact) yesterday morning. “I’m going to get even better as we go here,” he said yesterday. “I’ve played three preseason games and I thought I was pretty solid in all of them. Obviously not perfect, but I made some plays. I’m a big body, and I can play physical. I think I showed that in these games, and I’m going to keep it going.”
Another player who might play tonight is Max Friberg, who cleared waivers earlier this morning. Boudreau heralded the 22-year-old’s tenacity and scoring touch throughout training camp, and recently told the media Friberg is “doing something special every practice.”
As for tonight’s goaltenders, veteran Anton Khudobin is expected to make his second consecutive start. Khudobin is coming off a 23-save performance in Anaheim’s 2-1 victory at San Jose on Saturday.
With the preseason rapidly coming to an end, Boudreau says he’s been pleased with the way his team has been responding to systems work through on-ice instruction and off-ice videos.
“In all three zones we’ve been working at it, and they’ve been applying it in the game,” he said. “We’ve been showing them a lot of video of them being successful, but it’s always a work in progress.”
This is all in preparation for the regular season, which, for Anaheim, begins on Saturday, Oct. 10, at San Jose.
“We’re getting ready for Game One of the season,” said Simon Despres, who skated alongside his familiar partner, Cam Fowler, earlier this morning. “We’re getting familiar with each other, we’re working really hard and we’re skating hard.”
Despres credits a strong offseason training program for pushing him through Anaheim’s rigorous training camp.
“I’m the best I can be,” he said. “I worked really hard this summer and took care of my body. I’m ready to go.”
Tonight will be Despres’ first time playing at Staples Center.
“I’ve played a couple of games against [the Kings] in my life, but to play in Los Angeles … it’s going to be a fun matchup,” he said. “I’ve been in crazy rivalries before. I’m excited.”
Tonight’s game will feature a practice 3-on-3 overtime period regardless of the score at the end of regulation. Anaheim’s first 3-on-3 OT period was on Sept. 22 at Colorado (Alex Tanguay game-winner at 1:18 of overtime in a 5-4 Avalanche win).