It was another learning experience for a relatively youthful Ducks squad last night that dropped a 1-0 final at Honda Center to the LA Kings. A sprinkling of veterans highlighted a roster that included youngsters Nick Ritchie, Michael Sgarbossa, Julius Nattinen, Nick Sorensen, Jacob Larsson and Brandon Montour, who all made it through a large round of cuts earlier in the day (more on that later).
They went up against a Kings team that had former captain Dustin Brown, veteran defensemen Alec Martinez and Rob Scuderi, and all-world goaltender Jonathan Quick, who looked every bit like the Jonathan Quick of years past.
Anaheim reeled off 31 shots on Quick, but very few could be considered high-quality. The 30-year-old had clear looks at the point shots, so the Ducks will have to be ready (and willing) to set up shop in the opposing netminder's "kitchen" moving forward.
Aside from his miscue with the puck (and subsequent goal) in the second period, Jonathan Bernier looked strong in his first full game of the preseason. Few second-chance opportunities were given out by the 28-year-old goaltender, who turned aside 25 of 26 shots in the loss. It's a positive sign for the Ducks, who will rely on Bernier to backup John Gibson, while also providing upwards of 20-25 starts.
Last night, Montour showed glimpses of what's potentially to come from the highly-coveted 22-year-old defenseman. He covered all areas of the ice and didn't seem to miss a beat despite playing a team-high 24:35 TOI the night before. Montour and Shea Theodore anchored the power play, finishing the game with 2:03 TOI and 2:04 TOI on the man advantage, respectively.
Montour's confidence and poise has risen with every passing preseason game, and he appears to be outperforming his peers up to this point in training camp. If he doesn't make the opening night roster, don't be surprised to see him at some point during the season. He looks to be the real deal.
The last remaining World Cup participants are back in town, so expect to see captain Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in at least one preseason game before all is said and done. The same applies to Ryan Kesler, who has yet to appear in exhibition play.
Yesterday, the Ducks assigned 16 players to their minor league affiliate in San Diego dropping Anaheim's current training camp roster to 39 players - 25 forwards, 10 defensemen and four goaltenders. The Gulls opened their training camp earlier today at their new practice facility in Poway.