The Los Angeles Kings will face off tonight against their cross town rival, the Anaheim Ducks, in Anaheim. This cross town rivalry does not go as far back as the Dodgers and Angels rivalry, but it has had its share of great moments. This rivalry began in the 1993-1994 season, the inaugural season for the Ducks.
The rivalry has gone back and forth with both teams winning their fair share of games. These two teams usually play each other 6 times a year and in recent years they have been tightly contested games. Both the Kings and the Ducks have continued to improve over the years and have each won a Stanley Cup in the past 10 years. The Kings most recently won theirs 2 years ago, while the Ducks won theirs 6 years ago.
Both the Kings and the Ducks reside in the Pacific Division in the Western Conference and are only separated by 2 points at the moment. The Ducks have 40 points while the Kings sit with 38. Each team has made the playoffs the past two seasons with the Kings going further in both instances.
Both teams won two games in last season’s freeway series and the season’s first meeting between these two will surely be tightly contested. The stars were always there in the history of this series. Luc Robitaille, Rob Blake, Paul Kariya, Sean O’donnell, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger and of course the ageless Teemu Selanne have all taken part in this rivalry. The Kings have been dominant as of late winning 4 out of the last 5 freeway series. The funny thing is that the Kings and the Ducks have never faced each other in the playoffs.
The players continue to change, but the intensity of this rivalry is always high as both teams want to have bragging rights. This season’s 6 games will be high energy and could possibly decide who finishes atop the Pacific Division. The Ducks are coming off a shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks, but will be motivated to embarrass their cross town rival. The players to watch for them are their offensive threats: Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne.
The Ducks are 5th in the league in goals per game and will go against a Kings team that is ranked 3rd in the league in goals allowed per game. One key player for the Kings is goaltender Ben Scrivens, who has been playing very well as of late. The Kings must score in order to keep pace with the Ducks and a lot of the responsibility will fall on a veteran of this rivalry, Anze Kopitar. Kopitar must have a great game and set up his teammates in order for the Kings to win. I am confident that the Kings will put it all together tonight versus the Ducks and take over 2nd place in the Pacific Division.
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