ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks aren't lacking for big power forwards in their lineup but it certainly helps that Patrick Maroon is grabbing a hold of his role in time to play the Los Angeles Kings.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Maroon brings a wrecking-ball presence, along with a scoring touch, and it will be needed when Anaheim hosts the Kings at Honda Center on Thursday (10 p.m. ET, NHLN-US), the last time they'll meet until their game Saturday at Dodger Stadium in the opener of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.
Maroon has played with Mathieu Perreault and Teemu Selanne and also taken turns on the Ducks' top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
"He's been doing a real good job," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I have to say in the last four or five games he might be our best forward."
Boudreau said he would like to have a more physical presence in his lineup against the Kings, whose plodding style runs in direct counterpoint to Anaheim's skating game.
"They're a big, tough physical team," Boudreau said. "They've taken it to us pretty good in recent games here so we have to find a way to slow them down and match their willingness to win battles. If we can do that then they won't get 51 shots on goal [like they did Dec. 3]."
That Maroon has gotten the nod over other forwards such as Daniel Winnik and Kyle Palmieri on some nights speaks to his versatility.
"Obviously they see me in all different roles here," Maroon said. "If it's being the guy to go out there and get the team going, I'll be the guy to do that. If they put me on the top line to get the other guys going, I don't know. I just feel like it's good to be a part of a good team, a good hockey club like this. It's fun too … it's been a good ride for me so far."
Here are the expected lineups for the Kings and Ducks:
Dwight King - Anze Kopitar - Trevor Lewis
Matt Frattin - Mike Richards - Jeff Carter
Dustin Brown - Jarret Stoll - Justin Williams
Kyle Clifford - Colin Fraser - Tyler Toffoli
Jake Muzzin - Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell - Slava Voynov
Robyn Regehr - Alec Martinez
Scratched: Matt Greene, Jordan Nolan, Jeff Schultz
Notes: These were the reported lines at the morning skate. It appears coach Darryl Sutter has tweaked them again and separated Brown and Kopitar after they played together the past three games. … Richards and Carter were reunited Tuesday.
Dustin Penner - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Patrick Maroon - Mathieu Perreault - Teemu Selanne
Kyle Palmieri - Saku Koivu - Andrew Cogliano
Matt Beleskey - Nick Bonino - Tim Jackman
Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin
Cam Fowler - Ben Lovejoy
Bryan Allen - Mark Fistric
Scratched: Daniel Winnik, Jakob Silfverberg
Injured: Viktor Fasth (lower body inflammation), Sheldon Souray (wrist), Luca Sbisa (hand)
Notes: Andersen was first off the ice. Hiller is coming off one of his worst games this season but is expected to start in the outdoor game at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. … Penner goes back into the lineup and it appears Jackman will return too as Anaheim looks for more size. Getzlaf and Koivu did not take part in the morning skate but are expected to play. … Sbisa took turns with Fowler in line rushes but won't return. He has been out since Nov. 22 with a torn tendon in his right hand sustained in a fight during a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.