In a few hours, fans will pack Dodger Stadium for an event Southern California has never seen before. After months of preparation and planning, one of hockey’s best rivalries will be taken outdoors as part of the 2014 Coors Light Stadium Series tonight in front of 54,000 fans (6:30 p.m. PT, NBC Sports Network, AM 830).
The Ducks have never played an outdoor game in their 20-year history, but they got a taste of what’s to come during a practice yesterday.
“I was just trying to take it all in,” said defenseman Cam Fowler. The 22-year-old grew up in suburban Detroit, so he knows what it’s like to play outdoors. But never has he played in the open air on such a grand scale.
“First, I was trying to get my bearings and look around to see where home plate is,” he said. “Just looking at the different seats and trying to get a feel for how it’s going to be for them watching the game. Then, just getting on the ice and getting used to it all.
“It certainly took some getting used to, but the whole experience is going to be great. It’s such a great atmosphere, and something we’re definitely looking forward to.”
New Hampshire native Ben Lovejoy never thought he'd be playing outdoor hockey in 70-degree weather.
"It is so cool, and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing," he said. “Maybe our children out there right now will be able to look back at their childhood memories from skating at Dodger Stadium.”
Although this game is being played in a neutral location for both teams, it’s considered a road game for the Ducks. Anaheim has won nine of its last 11 road games (9-2-0) and has earned points in 10 of the last 12 (9-2-1). With a 17-9-3 road record, the Ducks lead the NHL in road points (37) and wins. Anaheim has played 71% of its road schedule with a co-league-leading 29 games.
BLACK AND BLUE
There are surely some bruises that still remain after the Ducks delivered 48 hits in their 2-1 victory over the Kings two nights ago at Honda Center. Defenseman Mark Fistric led the way with eight, and the game plan figures to stay the same tonight. But will it be the same lineup? Head coach Bruce Boudreau kept that answer close to the vest.
“Probably the tendency would be to keep the same lineup,” he said. “I don't know that I really go with the norm sometimes, though. So we've moved our guys around a lot this year. And I think [tonight] will probably be a little bit of the same.”
Anaheim and Los Angeles play the third game of the five-game 2013-14 Freeway Faceoff as part of the 2014 Coors Light Stadium Series tonight at Dodger Stadium. Anaheim is 50-41-23 all-time against Los Angeles and has outscored its Pacific Division rival, 323-314 (shootout goals excluded). Teemu Selanne leads the Ducks in career scoring vs. the Kings, earning 118 points (52g/66a) in 104 games. Captain Ryan Getzlaf has points in five of his last six games (3g/2a) vs. Los Angeles dating to Mar. 16, 2012.