Noon Update: Will we see Getzy with his wife in labor?
To say that the Race in the West is tighter than a frog’s bum would be belaboring the point.
To say that both teams will hit the ice with all guns blazing should elicit a huge “WELL DUH!” from anyone with even a remote understanding of the sport that is hockey.
Kings and Ducks are at spots eight and nine respectively, with the Ducks having played one more game than the Kings. A number of writers and interviewers are trotting out the stereotypical tropes in an obvious attempt to ramp up the tension going into the playoff run by repeatedly asking the question, “how important are tonight’s two points to your team?” Unfortunately for most of the press, players and coaches are shooting their horses out from under them by answering along the lines of, “Two solid points are no more important now than they were back in November. What’s important is consistency of play and the team’s ability to adapt.”
Tonight we can expect to see an Anaheim team focused on aggressive play, crashing the net if necessary and not allowing L.A. to catch us back on our heels. I’m not talking about beat-downs, boardings and blasphemy. The Kings have a few Achilles Heels we can exploit if we’re clever:
A) Dustin Brown’s mid icers – Set up Big Sexy to take one for the team and send Brownie to the sin bin. Diving? Official’s won’t buy it ‘cos of Sexton’s size.
B) Westgarth; the Wannabe Parros – it shouldn’t take much chirping from either Perry or even Getzlaf to incite him to throw down.
C) Speaking of chirping… – Wayne Simmonds is a goldmine when it comes to goading a player into do something stupid and drawing a match penalty. Simmonds is so touchy I bet even the soft-spoken Saku Koivu could get under his skin.
Speaking of Koivy, he’s a maybe for tonight with a pulled groin.
In other news, Timo Pielmeier’s been reassigned to the Crunch and recent acquisition Ray Emery has been recalled to back up Curtis McElhinney who will be starting in net as Jonas Hiller’s head is apparently still spinning.
Does this spell trouble? Oh, you betcha. McE hasn’t exactly been spectacular and the Ducks D was appalling in their last appearance. Positioning for picking up rebounds has been spotty and on top of that, we’ve got Kopitar’s deadly stick to worry about tonight.
Anaheim needs to stand and deliver. No doubt about it.
Tags: Aaron Voros AHL Anaheim Andreas Lilja Andy Sutton Big Sexy Bob Murray Bobby Ryan Brownie Cam Fowler Corey Perry Crunch Curtis McElhinney Dan Sexton Ducks Dustin Brown Francois Beauchemin George Parros Hockey Ice Jarkko Ruutu Jason Blake Joffrey Lupul Jonas Hiller Kings Kyle Chipchura Kyle Chipchurra Los Angeles Lubomir Visnovsky Matt Beleskey NHL Nick Bonino Niedermayer Randy Carlyle Ray Emery Ryan Carter Ryan Getzlaf Saku Koivu Sheldon Brookbank Sports Syracuse Teemu Selanne Timo Pielmeier Todd Marchant Toni Lydman Wayne Simmonds Westgarth