Their Dodger Stadium game will certainly be historic, with KISS in concert, beach volleyball to the side and an expected sellout crowd watching hockey in the open (and warm) air.
But Thursday night's prequel to Saturday's NHL Stadium Series event, pitting the chafed Ducks and Kings in the normal surroundings of Honda Center, should have tremendous entertainment value as well.
The Kings (29-16-6) arrive desperate for a win, mired in a 1-2-1 trip that included Saturday's galling shootout loss in Detroit. That was set up by a horrific non-call on a final-minute, out-of-play shot that careened off goalie Jonathan Quick's back and into the net to force overtime.
Dustin Brown is pointless on the trip and the Kings have only one win in their last nine road games.
Asked if the rivalry can jolt his team from its malaise, Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said, "We deserved better in Detroit. We know that. We came back [Monday] in a tough building [in Boston], came back [Tuesday] and did the same thing again. You don't just win by scoring. You win by doing lots of things."
The Ducks have lost two of three, including having their 20-0-2 home streak ended Tuesday in a 3-2 loss to Winnipeg.
Coach Bruce Boudreau said he's prepared for the Kings, the NHL's best defensive team, to revert to their usual sound ways against the NHL's points leader (37-10-5).
Quick will be in goal.
"They know when they have to push the envelope," Boudreau said. "I firmly believe they're our toughest opposition.
"I believe they think they can beat everybody [and] they match up well against us."
Boudreau said he's braced for an intense battle similar to a game his former team, the Washington Capitals, played against the Pittsburgh Penguins a week before their 2011 Winter Classic.
"Both teams are into that mode of knowing they'll be on the big stage," Boudreau said. "It will be an extremely intense game."
As the Kings work to address three-for-23 power-play woes in the last five games, defenseman Willie Mitchell said Anaheim provides strong motivation to dig deeper.
"They're the top team in the NHL and so you always want to measure yourself up against that," Mitchell said.
Ducks forward Teemu Selanne said the Kings are "probably the best team in the league in playing 60 minutes.… They're very solid and they just keep coming. It's a challenge to be better, and with the team they have you have to bring your 'A' game."
The Kings won in Anaheim in the season's first meeting Dec. 3 after a nine-round shootout.
"We've gotten bigger this year, our goaltending has been equal to theirs," Boudreau said. "It's up to us to not allow them to forecheck, not to skate through the neutral zone unscathed. Moving the puck is a big thing, we talk about playing fast every day.
"It's a question of who takes the dumber penalties, who's more disciplined, who pays the price for hitting — the intangibles."
That's one reason Boudreau gave ex-King forward Dustin Penner Tuesday off, so he can play Thursday and Saturday with "a little more jump."
The Kings recalled forward Tyler Toffoli and defenseman Jeff Schultz from minor league Manchester, N.H., demoting forwards Tanner Pearson and Linden Vey. Toffoli, 21, had nine goals and eight assists in 33 games with the Kings earlier this season. He scored 10 goals in Manchester. The 6-foot-6 Schultz played 41 games for Manchester.
Pearson didn't score in a combined 17:34 of ice time in two games with the Kings this month. Vey played only Tuesday before going back down.
Kings also acquired forward Andrew Crescenzi from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Brandon Kozun. Crescenzi will report to Manchester. Crescenzi, 20, had a goal, an assist and 33 penalty minutes in 32 games this season with the Maple Leafs' AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. Kozun was originally drafted by the Kings in the sixth round of the 2009 draft and played with Manchester the last four seasons.
On the air: TV: FS West, Prime Ticket; Radio: 830.
Etc.: Injured Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth, out since Nov. 18 with lower-body muscle inflammation, said he expects to be skating by next week and might play before the Olympic break.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun