Needing a nudge out of the malaise that has seen the Ducks flounder through a 6-7-1 stretch since Jan. 29, the rival Kings provide a stimulus Friday when they come to Honda Center.
"They certainly know how to play this time of year, so it'll be a good test for us," Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf said.
On their way to the Stanley Cup last season, the Kings eliminated the Ducks in a seven-game Western Conference semifinal series. This season, the Pacific Division teams have battled to overtime and beyond each of the three times they've played, the first-place Ducks winning twice.
With its double-digit points lead in the division, the Ducks have looked uninspired at times in February and are coming off Wednesday's 3-0 home loss to Ottawa.
Can the surging Kings provide the spark to sharpen the Ducks' focus?
"Win, lose or whatever happens, it's a matter of getting on the ice and competing as a group," Getzlaf said. "There's nobody that brings that out of us more than them."
Bryzgalov goes home
Waived goalie Ilya Bryzgalov declined an assignment to minor league Norfolk, Va., on Thursday, allowing the Ducks to keep the $750,000 they owed the veteran, who was 1-4-1 after being signed as a free agent in December.
"I agreed to return because of my respect for the Ducks organization, the quality of the team they had assembled and my long relationship with [General Manager] Bob Murray," Bryzgalov said in a statement released by the team. "Given the way things have worked out, I have decided to return home to be with my wife and children, who did not move with me to Anaheim.
"It's not the way I had hoped things would work out. But when you can return to a family you love, could life be any better?"
Bryzgalov was drafted by the Ducks in 2000 and was a key contributor in their 2005-06 playoff run and Stanley Cup season of 2006-07.
Center Nate Thompson returned to practice after missing his first game with an injury the Ducks would not identify, and is expected to be a game-time decision Friday.
The Ducks moved center William Karlsson down to Norfolk, and recalled the team's leading scorer, forward Chris Wagner.
Injured starting goalie Frederik Andersen (head/neck) said the discomfort from being struck by a fallen goal on Feb. 8 in Tampa Bay has subsided and it's "just about getting up to game speed."
Andersen practiced Thursday and said he'll accompany the team on its trip to Dallas and Phoenix.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 830.
Etc.: Defenseman Andrej Sekera, acquired Wednesday by the Kings in a trade with Carolina, could make his debut with his new team Friday.