As Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray gave injury updates on Ryan Getzlaf (facial fracture surgery), Cam Fowler (knee) and Ryan Kesler (hip), the Ducks went through their usual morning skate inside Honda Center as they prepare to face the Pacific Division-leading LA Kings later tonight.
Right off the bat, it appears John Gibson will get the start tonight, as he was the first goaltender to leave the ice. Based off line rushes, Derek Grant could slot in as the No. 1 center between Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry. Chris Wagner, usually a wing, moved back to the center position between Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg, while Antoine Vermette centered Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase. The fourth line was composed of Jared Boll, Dennis Rasmussen and Logan Shaw.
On defense, the top-two pairs appeared intact, and those include Hampus Lindholm with Josh Manson and Francois Beauchemin alongside Brandon Montour. The third pair appeared to be Sami Vatanen with Kevin Bieksa. Scratches tonight on the blueline could be Korbinian Holzer and Jaycob Megna.
"Injuries are things that happen in the game," said head coach Randy Carlyle, in light of the news that Getzlaf could be out for upwards of two months. "You have to find a way, as a group, to move forward with what we have. Because players aren't available is no excuse in this business and in any pro sports business. It's something you have to overcome. The only way to overcome it is to have more of a committee-type of approach.
"There are going to have to be other people who step up their game and make a contribution."
The Kings are expected to counter with Jonathan Quick, who brings an 8-2-1 record into tonight's game. The 31-year-old netminder is tied for the league lead in shutouts (2), tied for second in wins, ninth in goals-against average (1.99) and eighth in save percentage (.939%). Pacing the Kings in scoring is their captain, Anze Kopitar, who leads the team in points (17) and assists (10), and co-leads in goals (7) and game-winning goals (2). Kopitar is currently riding a five-game point streak (6 points, 1g/5a).
"It's going to be exciting," said Lindholm. "When it's a big rivalry, it's always a lot of fun to get out there. Fans get emotional and the players get into it. It's a bounce-back game for us. We need to get on a winning streak. We didn't play bad last game, but we had some good things we can build on."
Projected Line Combinations
Video: The Ducks preview their battle with the Kings