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At the Rink: Kings at Ducks

by Curtis Zupke

ANAHEIM -- Los Angeles Kings defenseman Andrej Sekera has little time to get to know his new teammates before being thrown into a big rivalry game, but he's ready for the challenge.

Sekera will make his Kings debut Friday against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. The teams have developed a healthy disdain for each other since the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and it's usually a mixed fan base in Anaheim's building.

"I heard about it and I'm looking forward to it, it should be exciting," Sekera said.

Pressed more about what he's heard, Sekera said, "It's a rivalry game, with a full house."

The Kings acquired Sekera, 28, from the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday for defense prospect Roland McKeown and a conditional first-round pick in the either the 2015 or 2016 NHL Draft.

It is unclear who Sekera will be paired with. The Kings took the unusual step of having a morning skate at Honda Center, and it was an optional, so there were no line rushes. Coach Darryl Sutter was not available to the media.

Sekera played with defenseman Robyn Regehr intermittently with the Buffalo Sabres, so the Kings can reunite them, although they would have to break up the top pairing of Regehr and defenseman Drew Doughty.

Sekera repeated his approach to fitting in with a new team when asked if he consulted with Sutter.

"He [told] me to play my game simple, and just work hard, basically," Sekera said.

Goalie Martin Jones was off the ice first and will give goalie Jonathan Quick a rest after Quick made his 16th straight start Thursday. Jones got his first NHL win last year at Anaheim.

Each team is coming off a lackluster loss to the Ottawa Senators, shut out by Ottawa first-year goalie sensation Andrew Hammond.

The Ducks are 2-0-1 against the Kings this season, and all three games have gone beyond regulation. It's an extension of a rivalry that was ratcheted up last season, when the Kings eliminated the Ducks in the Western Conference Second Round in seven games.

"Every time we see these guys, it's a great hockey game," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "They're always hard-fought games, and I think the respect over the years has gotten more and more [elevated]. We've always had just good, hard-fought games. Not generally a lot of silly stuff, it's more just a hard-fought game, and we expect nothing else today."

Anaheim will likely scratch left wing Rene Bourque in favor of the more physical right wing Tim Jackman, and recently recalled center Chris Wagner will likely go in because center Nate Thompson is recovering from a lower-body injury.

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau is prepared to have goals come at a premium.

"Usually against them, it's a race to two [goals]," Boudreau said. "We know they're defending extremely well, so goals are going to be hard to come by. We just have to make sure we're doing the same thing tonight."

Here are the projected lineups:


Marian GaborikAnze KopitarDustin Brown

Dwight KingJeff CarterTyler Toffoli

Trevor LewisJarret StollJustin Williams

Kyle CliffordNick ShoreJordan Nolan

Jake MuzzinDrew Doughty

Robyn RegehrAndrej Sekera

Brayden McNabbMatt Greene

Martin Jones

Jonathan Quick

Scratched: Andy Andreoff, Jamie McBain

Suspended: Slava Voynov

Injured: Alec Martinez (concussion)


Kyle PalmieriRyan GetzlafCorey Perry

Andrew CoglianoRyan KeslerJakob Silfverberg

Jiri SekacRickard RakellEmerson Etem

Patrick MaroonChris WagnerTim Jackman

Cam FowlerBen Lovejoy

Hampus LindholmFrancois Beauchemin

Clayton StonerJosh Manson

John Gibson

Frederik Andersen

Scratched: Eric Brewer, Rene Bourque

Injured: Sami Vatanen (leg), Matt Beleskey (shoulder), Nate Thompson (lower body)

Status report: Kings defenseman Derek Forbort was re-assigned to the American Hockey League. … Andersen is well enough to at least backup Gibson, so goalie Jason LaBarbera was re-assigned to the AHL. … Brewer stayed out for extra work. … Thompson did not skate. … Beleskey has started to skate and said he is progressing on track.

Who's hot: Getzlaf has two goals and two assists in his past four games. … Muzzin has two assists in his past three games.

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