By Jon D. Gaede, BVN Staff –
Cross town rivals and fierce Western Conference competitors, the Kings and Ducks never coast when they take the ice against one another.
This years final two hockey games for both clubs, gave fans a taste of the intensity of NHL’s second season to come, the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The speed and the hits on display in Anaheim and Los Angeles were proof that the rivalry is alive and well.
These teams really don’t like each other.
As the teams took to the ice against each other on Friday and Saturday night, the issue of who would finish ahead of the other in the division was up for grabs. The difference would also decide home ice advantage, in the first round.
Goal keeper’s Jonathan Quick of Los Angeles and Dan Ellis of Anaheim were solid behind the net. Ellis had 23 saves and stopped all but one attempt. Quick had an impressive 26 saves, however, he was unable to save two off the stick of Teemu Selanne as the Ducks beat the Kings 2-1.
With shouts of “one more year” the Anaheim faithful would be thrilled if future Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne decided to play into his 40’s. The Kings, for one, probably wish he would have retired before his two goals on Friday night.
After 81 regular season games, the Western Division had several scenarios for teams to make or miss the playoffs, in their last two games.
Imposing center, Ryan Getzlaf suffered facial lacerations and was out of the Duck line-up for over a month. To pick up the pace, Anaheim’s Corey Perry simply scored a league leading 50 goals on the season. He is a strong candidate for league MVP.
The Ducks are healthy again, have home ice advantage as a 4th seed and may be poised to make a strong playoff run, like they did in 2007, when they won the cup.
The Kings will have to overcome the season ending injury to Anze Kopitar to make their playoff run. As a lower 7th seed, they will not have home ice, however, they draw San Jose, which is only a 45 minute taxi ride aboard Southwest Airlines.
In the end, no team in the Western Conference may be able to handle Vancouver, if they do get that far. The Canucks did draw a physical Chicago team for round one.
For Southern California fans, this marks the first time that both local teams have made the playoffs, in the same year. The seeds have been planted, the road to the Stanley Cup will begin on Tuesday.
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