Considering they’ve played 12 regular season and playoff games over the past calendar year, the Los Angeles Kings are more than familiar with the Anaheim Ducks. Los Angeles may have faced San Jose more than any NHL team has played any other NHL team over since the start of the 2010-11 season, but given the teams’ proximity and a seven-game playoff series in addition to the heavy head-to-head divisional schedule, there are no surprises when these teams meet.
So is preparing for a game against Anaheim different than preparing for a game against Ottawa, a team the Kings will see twice a year, barring any early June trips to Canada’s capital?
“Not really,” Associate Coach John Stevens said. “I mean, we’re very familiar with video now and how everybody plays, but certainly in Anaheim’s case, we’re very familiar with them. The big thing with them is their forecheck. They’re extremely committed to the forecheck, they’ve got big guys who can skate and get in on you, and they really put a lot of pressure on the puck and try to put a lot of pressure on teams in their own end. That’s no secret. They’re a very sound, fundamental team with big guys who compete hard, so it’ll be a good challenge for us.”
It’s not too different from a scouting report on the Kings – another team with a sound forecheck with big bodies and a strong compete level.
“I think everyone knows what they need to do,” Jordan Nolan said. “Like I said, they’re big, strong, physical, so I think that first five to 10 minutes of the period and of the game is going to be probably going to be the factor in who is going to win and who is going to lose. So we need our big guys to step up and we need the role players to play their roles and everyone has a job to do, so everybody has to do their job to beat this team.”
Jordan Nolan, on the team’s focus against Anaheim:
I mean they’re a big, strong, physical team. So last night, I think we handled that area too well. So we’ve got to come out with a lot of bang and a lot of quickness in our game and hopefully we earn the two points.
Nolan, on the environment in the room when Andrej Sekera arrived:
Not much changes. Everyone welcomes him to the team, says their hello, but it’s right to business. Again, we’re in the hunt for a playoff spot right now. We gave up two points last night that would’ve been a big two points for us and we need the win tonight.
Nolan, on what he takes away from last night’s loss to Ottawa:
It wasn’t our greatest performance. Sometimes you play games like that and you get two points, and obviously you can’t always hope for that to happen. But we’re going to come out a lot stronger tonight.
Tyler Toffoli, on what he has seen from Andrej Sekera:
I think we know what he brings. He’s small, really skilled, quick, he can move the puck and get up the ice. I think we’re excited to see what he can bring to our team.
Toffoli, on the organization’s willingness to make trades without sacrificing core players:
Yeah, we’re excited. We had a good little run there and obviously last night was a tough loss, but it’s a new night, a new game and we’ve got to start a new run.
Toffoli, on whether the Kings lost because of a hot goalie last night:
I don’t think we had our best game. I think we struggled at some points and obviously just couldn’t score the big goal.
Toffoli, on what he has to be aware of against Anaheim:
They’re dangerous. I think all four of their lines can score and they hit. They’re all over you and you don’t have a lot of space, so you have to be ready to make little plays and be ready to work.
Toffoli, on any additional excitement for this game:
I think it’s just another game. We don’t really think about it as anything else. It’s a division game we need to win and we have to be prepared.
Jake Muzzin, on how players help Andrej Sekera feel comfortable:
Well, I just think you be yourself and if he has any questions you help him out, but he’s an experienced guy who has been around and he knows what to do. So just take it as it goes and I’m sure he’ll help us out a lot.
Muzzin, on the organization’s willingness to make trades without sacrificing core players:
I mean it gives you a little sense of security and in the back of your mind know that when other teams are getting rid of guys and stuff like that, we have a tight group in there and we want to stay together. But saying that, you never know what could happen. So you just go out and do your job and hope to stay. Really at the end of the day, I don’t think about it too much. I just go out and enjoy hockey and enjoy the guys.
Muzzin, on any similarities between Los Angeles and Anaheim:
Both tight checking teams, like you said. It just comes down to who wants it more at the end of the day and they’re in first and we’re trying to catch them. So we’ll be fighting hard tonight.