LOS ANGELES – The Ducks and Kings renew their fierce Southern California rivalry Saturday night at Staples Center as both teams come off their bye week and plunge right into the fight for playoff positioning in the Western Conference.
Both teams have seen what a winning streak can do at this time of the year. Calgary has won six in a row to move into third place in the Pacific Division. The Flames, who have wins over the Kings and Ducks during it, are just one point behind Los Angeles after sitting behind Anaheim last week.
A loss in Calgary, where the Ducks (19-15-9) were 16 seconds away from overtime and earning at least a point heading into their break, is something that Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said “sticks in our craw.”
“That left a real bad taste in our mouth here over the last five days,” Carlyle said. “There’s a momentum swing for a team that you’re trying to catch and battling with for those points. Those are the kind of things that make it really hurt.”
John Gibson (13-13-5, 2.65 GAA, .923 SV%) will make the start in goal. Gibson stopped 30 of 33 shots on Nov. 7 in a 4-3 overtime loss at Honda Center. He did not play in overtime, having to leave during the third period after being struck in his mask by a shot.
Ondrej Kase will be back in the Ducks’ lineup after missing three games due to lingering effects from the flu. Kase did play for the AHL’s San Diego Gulls on Wednesday before being called back to Anaheim.
Jared Boll is also back with the Ducks after a stint in San Diego. Boll played in seven games with the Gulls after being assigned to San Diego following recovery from a leg injury suffered on Nov. 25 against L.A. He could be used in an enforcer role by Carlyle if the Kings dress Andy Andreoff.
Here is the projected lineup for the Ducks:
Rickard Rakell-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano-Ryan Kesler-Jakob Silfverberg
Nick Ritchie-Adam Henrique-Ondrej Kase
Chris Wagner-Derek Grant-Jared Boll/Logan Shaw