Anaheim's preseason rolls along tonight, as the club heads up to Los Angeles to take on the Kings at Staples Center (7:30 p.m., TV: None, Radio: 710 KSPN). This marks the first of two games against the Kings and the second of seven preseason games overall for the Ducks, who will host their crosstown rival on Sunday at Honda Center.
The Ducks went through their usual pregame skate earlier this morning at Honda Center and will depart for Staples Center later in the afternoon.
It's still a feeling-out process for head coach Randy Carlyle and his players, so last night's 2-1 loss against the Arizona Coyotes should be taken with a grain of salt - if even that. For many of the players in Anaheim's lineup, last night represented their first taste of NHL preseason hockey.
College standout Antoine Laganiere scored the lone goal for Anaheim, with assists to veteran Ryan Garbutt and prospect Kalle Kossila, whom the Ducks signed to a two-year entry-level contract last March.
It'll be another youthful lineup tonight that includes 2016 first-round draft pick Sam Steel, who will make his Ducks preseason debut centering a line with Joseph Cramarossa and Jared Boll.
"There's a lot going through my head right now," said Steel, selected 30th overall in the June draft. "It's an exciting time, that's for sure. I'm going to take it all in, but, more importantly, go out there and play my game. Hopefully I can have some success."
Steel was one of two first-round picks the Ducks had in the draft, with Max Jones being the other, selected 24th overall.
A player to watch tonight will be Brandon Montour, one of the club's highly-touted prospects on the blueline. The 22-year-old is coming off an eye-opening rookie AHL campaign in which he was named to the 2015-16 AHL First All-Star Team and All-Rookie Team after scoring 57 points (12g/45a) in 68 games with San Diego.
An offensive defenseman by nature, Montour worked closely with Gulls assistant coach Marty Wilford last season to round out his defensive game. Tonight, Montour says he's out to prove why he wants a spot on the opening night roster by playing effectively at both ends of the ice.
"For me, it's just focusing on my defense," said Montour. "That's key for me and what they see up there. Last year I made a lot of strides, and I'm going to show that tonight. If the offense is there, I'm going to go, but I'm going to focus on my defense, for sure."
Dustin Tokarski and Yann Danis are expected to be the goaltenders for Anaheim, while reports out of LA suggest Peter Budaj as tonight's starter, with Jack Campbell or Tom McCollun backing him up.
POTENTIAL LINE COMBINATIONS
Ritchie - Sgarbossa - Sorensen
Booth - Wagner - Noesen
Cramarossa - Steel - Boll
Bergenheim - Morley - Bickel
Theodore - Manson
Despres - Guenin
Schultz - Montour
Setoguchi - Kempe - Brown
Clifford - Dowd - Purcell
Andreoff - Latta - Nolan
Mersch - Crescenzi - Auger
Forbort - Greene
Gravel - Gilbert
MacDermid - LaDue