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Kings host Ducks in white, Clifford to return

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings


NEIGHBORS OVER: Tonight marks the second of five meetings with the Ducks this season, and the first of Anaheim’s three visits to STAPLES Center. The Ducks are on a one-game road trip, they’ve won their previous four and are coming off of a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night. The Kings are playing their final home game until February 23 tonight and are coming off of a 6-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night.

WEARING WHITE: The Kings will wear their road white uniforms tonight; it will be the first time the team has donned their away uniforms at STAPLES Center since October 18, 2011, when they hosted the St. Louis Blues, a 5-0 win in what was their first Los Angeles-based home game of that season.

LINEUP: The Kings held a morning skate at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo in anticipation of tonight’s game. Jordan Nolan remained on the ice for extra work with Andy Andreoff and Jamie McBain, who are all expected to be healthy scratches. Kyle Clifford, who has been out since December 6, missing 24 games, is likely to return to the lineup skating on the right side of Tanner Pearson and Nick Shore on the fourth line. Jonathan Quick left the ice first and is expected to draw the start in goal.

FORWARDS

LUCIC – KOPITAR – BROWN
KING – CARTER – TOFFOLI
GABORIK – LECAVALIER – LEWIS
PEARSON – SHORE - CLIFFORD
(NOLAN – ANDREOFF)

DEFENSEMEN

MUZZIN – DOUGHTY
MARTINEZ – SCHENN
MCNABB – MCBAIN
(EHRHOFF)

GOALTENDERS

QUICK
(ENROTH)

ONE BEFORE THE ROAD: Tonight marks the Kings’ final home game at STAPLES Center before the team ventures out on their annual ‘Grammy Trip’, which will see them play seven consecutive road games before returning home on February 23. The Kings, 15-9-1 at home this season, hold the league’s 9th-best mark, the Western Conference’s 4th-best, and the best in the Pacific division. Anaheim is 8-10-3 on the road this season, can the Kings pocket an important two points on home-ice tonight before leaving for their longest trip of the season?

THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings’ previous meeting with the Ducks on January 17 at the Honda Center, they were victorious over Anaheim 3-2. Vincent Lecavalier, Tyler Toffoli and Anze Kopitar scored for the Kings while Jonathan Quick made 30 saves in the win. Kopitar led all players in the game with two points (1G, 1A), including the game-winning goal.

CLIFFORD’S RETURN: Kyle Clifford is set to be in the lineup for the first time in 24 games, he’s been out with an undisclosed upper-body injury ever since he took a high hit from Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman on December 6. On what he’s expecting from Clifford tonight, Darryl Sutter said, “Make sure he’s clear on the system detail and play with some energy.” Clifford will skate with Tanner Pearson and Nick Shore on the fourth line. “I’ve done enough conditioning,” Clifford said following the morning skate. “I’m [looking forward to] getting in and helping the team win.”

First day back.

A photo posted by LA Kings (@lakings) on

HOT IN ANAHEIM: The Ducks have moved up to third-place in the Pacific division with a recent surge that has seen them post a 11-3-1 mark in their previous 15 games, one of their three regulation losses during that span coming against the Kings. Since their loss to the Kings on January 17, Anaheim has won four straight games, where their 30th-ranked offense has averaged four goals per game. Can the Kings put an end to the Ducks’ winning streak tonight?

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Tonight’s game will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network, with coverage beginning just prior to puck drop at 7:00 PM; our very own Jim Fox will join Gord Miller on the national broadcast. As always, you can listen to Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans call the action over the radio airwaves on AM 790 KABC.

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