The Kings’ Andrew Crescenzi (left) and the Ducks’ Jakob Silfverberg (right) going for a puck during a game this year. Photo courtesy of alamy.com
A LOOK AT SOCAL’S TWO NHL TEAMS AS THEY ARE BOTH BEGINNING THEIR BID FOR THE STANLEY CUP THIS WEEK
Record: 44-25-13, 101 points
- Second place in the Pacific Division
- Won their last five games
- Sixth straight year in the postseason
Goals – Rickard Rakell, 34
Assists – Ryan Getzlaf, 50
Points – Rakell, 69
Corey Perry – 17 goals, 32 assists = 49 points
Jakob Silfverberg – 17 goals, 23 assists = 40 points
Ondrej Kase – 20 goals, 18 assists = 38 points
John Gibson (G): 31-18-7, .926 save percentage, 2.43 GAA
First Playoff Opponent: San Jose Sharks, Games 1, 2, 5 (if necessary) and 7 (if necessary) on April 12th, 14th, 20th, & 24th at Honda Center
LOS ANGELES KINGS
Record: 45-29-8, 98 points
- Fourth place in the Pacific Division
Goals – Anze Kopitar, 35
Assists – Kopitar, 57
Points – Kopitar, 92
Dustin Brown – 28 goals, 33 assists = 61 points
Drew Doughty – 10 goals, 50 assists = 60 points
Tyler Toffoli – 24 goals, 23 assists = 47 points
Jonathan Quick (G): 33-28-3, .921 save percentage, 2.40 GAA
First Playoff Opponent: Las Vegas Golden Knights, Games 3, 4, and 6 (if necessary) on April 15, 17th & 21st at Staples Center
Highlights from the last Freeway Faceoff clash, a 2-1 win by the Ducks over the Kings in overtime on March 30th. Courtesy of YouTube.
FREEWAY FACEOFF: Ducks won season series over Kings, three games to two
A Few Thoughts and a Prediction:
Even though SoCal was blessed to have two hockey teams that were both good and had successful seasons,
The Ducks, as shown by their surge over the past few weeks, clearly showed that they were the better team than their downtown L.A. rivals, and not just due to their beating the Kings the last three times they played them in the Freeway Faceoff.
The fact that those Ducks from Orange County suffered from numerous injuries early on to go 10-1-1 over their last 12 games is evidence that they are in a roll and poised to make a long run at their second Stanley Cup.
As for the Kings, though their season was quite good as well I just didn’t feel that they showed as much consistency as the Ducks did down the stretch.
The NHL playoff overview and preview in today’s issue of the Los Angeles Times has the Kings beating Las Vegas’ Golden Knights – who had arguably the best season by a first-year team in sports history – in seven games, but I was honestly a little surprised by that.
It’s hard to figure those Kings out.
Which is why while I won’t predict how those Kings and Ducks will fare in their first round series that begin this week, I will predict this:
Though I don’t see the Ducks winning the Stanley Cup, they WILL go further in the postseason than the Kings, and they WILL have a chance to get to conference finals if things go their way.
And who knows? If those Kings have everything go perfectly for them against Vegas, we may very well have SoCal’s two hockey rivals – whose animosities on the ice are beginning to compare with UCLA and USC’s rivalry in all sports – meeting in the playoffs for the second time!
Which will undoubtedly pump up and excite the black-and-silver and the orange-and-black fan bases.
As always, let’s let things unfold…
The Ducks’ Hampus Lindholm (left) battling the Kings’ Anze Kopitar (right) for a puck. Photo courtesy of twitter.com