Irvine's own might be getting his first taste of the NHL tonight against the Boston Bruins at Honda Center. Nicolas Kerdiles, recalled earlier today from the San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League, took part in the morning skate on a line with Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry. The 23-year-old was born in Lewisville, Texas, but raised in Irvine, and became the first Ducks draft pick who was raised in Orange County after being selected in the second round (36th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft. The 6-2, 192-pound forward had four goals and nine points in 10 games with San Diego this season at the time of his recall.
"It's a huge honor," said Kerdiles. "To finally get this opportunity is pretty awesome, especially at home in front of my family. Making my debut here at Honda Center in a rink I grew up watching the Ducks play at is pretty special."
It's been a long and winding road to the NHL for Kerdiles, who has overcome several serious injuries throughout his young career. Kerdiles missed all of training camp and only recently made his season debut with San Diego because of an upper-body injury suffered during a Rookie Showcase game against the Colorado Avalanche on September 18. In that exhibition game, Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov boarded Kerdiles and was assessed a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct.
"His game has really been taken to another level," said assistant coach Paul MacLean. "He has the ability to skate. We want to make sure we're giving him the opportunity to come up here to see if he can help us."
Jonathan Bernier was the lone goaltender on the ice for the Ducks, so we'll have to wait until pregame warmups to confirm Anaheim's starting netminder. The Bruins are likely countering with Tuukka Rask, according to interim head coach Bruce Cassidy.
The Bruins made headlines on February 7 when longtime head coach Claude Julien was relieved of his duties. Cassidy, an assistant at the time, became Julien's replacement. Since then, the Bruins have won four in a row, most recently a 2-1 overtime victory over the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center last Sunday.
"They seem to have a lot of confidence under their new coach," said defenseman Cam Fowler. "In Boston it was a pretty high-scoring affair [a 4-3 Ducks win]. Lots of chances both ways. I don't expect much different tonight. They're a team that likes to play with a lot of pace. We'll have to be ready for a high-paced game."
Potential Line Combinations
K. Miller-C. Miller
Video: The Ducks preview the matchup with Boston