By Kyle Shohara
It was business as usual for the Ducks on Wednesday, getting a brisk practice under their belts a day after defeating the San Jose Sharks, 3-2, at Honda Center. With the victory, the Ducks leapfrogged the Arizona Coyotes for third place in the Pacific Division. [Both teams have 53 points, but the Ducks have played two fewer games.] The week is certainly not over, as tomorrow night the Ducks take on the LA Kings at Staples Center before returning home to host the Coyotes on Friday.
Before boarding a bus bound for Downtown LA, the Ducks shared their thoughts on what they expect tomorrow night against one of the league’s best teams.
Cam FowlerOn the Kings
They’re a team that forces you to play a man’s-style game. They don’t give you anything for free, so you certainly have to earn every scoring chance you get. Especially playing in their building, they’re always defensively structured. There’s not a lot of room out there. It’s nothing we can’t handle, or aren’t ready for, but you certainly have to have your best effort if you want to have some success against a team like that.On the similarities between the two teams
Both teams know the style of game that’s going to be played. I think the reason why you have such great games – such competitive games – is because both teams are built very similar. There isn’t a whole lot of flash in either one of our games. We know it’s going to be about chipping pucks in, getting in on the forecheck and trying to wear each other down physically. That’s the kind of game we like to play, and certainly one they like to play. It’s really about which team can execute the best. A lot of times special teams comes into it. If you get that one stop on the penalty kill or if you’re able to score a goal on the power play, most of the time that can go a long way against a team like that.On the importance of the game
It certainly has more emphasis. Not only is it a cross-town rival of ours, but it’s a divisional game. They have a nice, comfortable lead, but for the rest of us, we’re fighting like crazy to get into the playoffs. By no means are they going to make it easy on us. We have to earn everything we’re going to get. This week, especially, is important for us. Last night was good for us. It was sloppy in some parts, but we’ll take the win. Hopefully we can carry that momentum into tomorrow night’s game.
Ryan KeslerOn the rivalry
It’s a rivalry that started a while ago. I joined last year, and these are always intense games. These are two teams that play very similar. Big bodies and a lot of hits. It’s always a lot of fun to play in. We need to play defensively sound and capitalize on our chances. We know how we need to play to win. We definitely played that way against LA [in the first meeting]. If we put that effort on the ice again, we’ll be successful.
Head Coach Bruce BoudreauOn team toughness
We just want to beat them, and they just want to beat us. We got Simon Despres back. Ryan Garbutt is a pretty physical player. David Perron is pretty strong along the boards. Those three additions make us a little harder to play against.On the upcoming stretch of games
We play LA and Arizona, and then we have seven on the road. Eight of the next nine are on the road in tough buildings. A lot of our March is going to depend on how good our February is.