Left wing Dustin Penner has 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in 22 games going into Tuesday’s grudge-match against the Kings at the Honda Center. He is the Ducks’ third-leading scorer behind linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, who have 31 and 29 points.
Penner played a lesser role with the Kings after a late-season trade from Edmonton in 2010-11, skating almost exclusively on the third or fourth line. Although he was a key figure in the Kings’ run to the Stanley Cup championship in 2011-12, his tenure was marked by frustration and disappointment.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter scratched him from the lineup frequently and for extended periods, unsure how to wring more from him. Last season, Penner recorded only 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) in 33 games during the lockout-shortened 48-game campaign.
“I wasn’t happy personally, but I was going through a lot of things personally,” Penner said Monday, referring to the breakup of his marriage to actress Jessica Welch during the 2011-12 season. “That was one of (the reasons for a lack of production while with the Kings).
“There were coaching changes that messed that up a bit. When I first got there, I played with (Anze) Kopitar and (Justin) Williams for the first seven games and had a point a game. (Kopitar) broke his ankle and I never played with him again for the next 2 1/2 years. I would have liked to have played with ‘Kopi’ more.”
Asked if there was an extra motivation in facing the Kings for the first time since signing a one-season, $2-million contract with the Ducks in July, Penner said, “I would probably continue along the same lines as I’ve started this year. It’s nice not to have to say, ‘Well, I’ve really got to play good this game.’ I’ve just got to continue to improve on what I’ve built from Day 1 here and hope I can have a game where I score two goals or something. But the most important thing is getting a win, especially on home ice against a division rival.”