Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2011-12 season:
Game 18 vs. Anaheim
November 16, 2011
7:30pm PST (10:30pm EST)
The Los Angeles Kings have had a fairly eventful start to the 2011-12 season but tonight, they will meet their cross-town rivals for the first time this season.
The Kings will host the Anaheim Ducks for the first of six meetings between the two clubs. In fact, tonight is the beginning of a home-and-home series between the two clubs, which is more notorious known as the ‘Freeway Faceoff’.
Los Angeles hopes to avenge last season’s overall result against the Ducks. In 2010-11, the Kings went 2-4-0 against their rivals and they hope to renew the rivalry on a positive note before heading to Anaheim tomorrow night.
With the injuries to Dustin Penner and Alec Martinez, the Kings have recalled both forward Andrei Loktionov and defenseman Slava Voynov who will both be in the lineup tonight. Voynov, who has two goals and an assist in five games (those three points actually came in one game, his most recent game) for the Los Angeles so far, will be paired up with Willie Mitchell while Loktionov, a natural center, will put on the wing and will be paired with captain Dustin Brown and Mike Richards on the second line. Tonight will be Loktionov’s first game for the Kings this season so we’ll see just how he fares this time.
Although on paper the Ducks have one of the best lines in hockey in Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, the trio has combined for just 15 goals and 14 assists this season, which is 20 fewer points than they tallied this time last year. Having said that, though, the Kings must still look out for the three as they all have the ability to break out at any moment, which is why Ryan is a two-time 30-goal scorer and Perry is the reigning NHL MVP. In addition, Los Angeles will need to find as way to contain the ageless Teemu Selanne, who leads the Ducks with 15 points and who’s had a plethora of success against the Kings.
In goal, Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller looks to turns this around as he currently sports a 5-7-3 record to along with a 3.10 GAA and an .899 save-percentage.
Overall, Anaheim currently sit tied for 13th in the West with a 6-8-3 record coming off a 3-2 loss at home against the Wild this past Sunday. With that, the Ducks hope a pair of back-to-back meetings with their biggest rival will do them some good.
Photo: Courtesy of www.hockeyhermit.com