LOS ANGELES -- They missed the Polar Vortex over the weekend in Chicago and St. Louis, but the Anaheim Ducks looked at the weather forecast upon arriving home and saw possible trouble -- an expected high of 79 degrees in Los Angeles on Saturday.
That night at 6:30, the Ducks and Kings play their NHL Stadium Series game at Dodger Stadium.
"Kind of thought about it. ... I don't know what they're going to do if it stays this warm out. It's going to be something different," Ducks center Mathieu Perreault said Monday after the Ducks practiced for Tuesday's home game against the Winnipeg Jets.
Game officials have expressed confidence the Dodger Stadium ice quality will be fine as temperatures decrease in the evening.
The Ducks will practice at Dodger Stadium at 6 p.m. Friday, and team equipment manager Doug Shearer said he'll get the players' reaction to the ice quality immediately afterward, and also during the game.
Shearer said he'll bring two skate machines to Saturday's game, keeping an extra in the Dodgers' dugout if widespread adjustments are necessary.
"We'll see what the guys say and back off how deep the hollow (skate bottom) is if it's too soft," Shearer said. "Because of our practice time, we'll have a good feel for how it'll be at game time under the lights."
Three years ago, Perreault was on Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau's Washington Capitals team that beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Winter Classic at Heinz Field, where rain hampered the conditions.
"The ice was awful," Perreault said, adding the players' attention to hockey was "a little choppy" during the first period because of the novelty of the game. "We got up to a lead after two, and in the third period the ice was so bad, we were kind of sitting back and chipping pucks out, making it hard for them to make a play in our zone."
At least it'll be warmer for Ducks center Saku Koivu, who played in an outdoor game in Edmonton, Canada, as a member of the Montreal Canadiens when the temperature was minus-13 degrees.
"It's going to be even more special now with the weather," Koivu said. "Playing in California ... I don't think anyone ever thought it'd be possible to do here. It's going to be a great experience."
Luca Sbisa is back
Defenseman Luca Sbisa, out since Nov. 22 because of a torn right hand tendon, played extended minutes in two games for minor league Norfolk over the weekend, returned to the Ducks and was paired with veteran Francois Beauchemin in Monday's practice.
"Ready to go and excited to help the team," Sbisa said.
Sbisa said there was still some minor stiffness in his right wrist because of extended immobility, and said his first game back felt like he was skating with a "40-pound vest" on. But he said he was fine the second game.
Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen unveiled new bright orange goalie pads Monday.
An indicator he'll start Saturday with the Ducks wearing their special orange jerseys?
"I don't know if Bruce would've known that, since they were ordered two months ago," Andersen said of the pads.
Earlier Monday, Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller showed a photo of the top of the special mask he'll wear Saturday. Hiller agreed with a team official it was best to unveil the entire mask Saturday. So it's looking like Hiller's start.
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