For hockey purists, warm weather cities like LA shouldn’t even have a hockey team, let alone the Stanley Cup champs, let alone two hockey teams. But hockey fans in Southern California know there are not two teams in LA. Yes of course there are hockey fans in Southern California.
The Anaheim Ducks from Orange County won the Freeway Faceoff Sunday evening at the Honda Center. And the rivalry between these two teams in this hard hitting game is validated in the stands. Neither Orange County nor LA want two hockey teams in LA. The Ducks can stay where they are, in Orange County, as far as Kings and Ducks fans are concerned.
The Ducks got the last extra point after the Kings struggles in shootouts continued. Jonathan Bernier left the ice first at the morning skate, and first after the game as Bobby Ryan, Saku Koivu, and Corey Perry all beat him to seal the victory. Jonathan Quick failed to get a save in a shootout last week, and epically smashed his stick in frustration. Bernier has had a terrific season, but he was unable to get the stops in the shootout, and allowed 3 goals on 22 shots.
The Kings continued to get pucks to the net as they outshot the Ducks by a wide margin, 38 to 22. Oftentimes the games that the Kings shoot around 40 times per game, they lose 1-0 to a hot goaltender. But Anaheim got their 3 goals from Kyle Palmieri, Corey Perry, and Matt Belesky, and the Ducks held on to win.
The game was hard fought from the start, as it saw 5 Kings and Ducks in the penalty box in the first period. Each team managed a powerplay goal and were around 35 hits for the game apiece. The intensity on the ice validated the rivalry from these two teams, and the Kings will try to even up the Series at home on Saturday.
The Ducks are sitting atop the division with 57 points, still5 behind Chicago for the number 1 seed. And the Kings had a big opportunity to climb towards the division lead, and put space between themselves and the 8th spot. But after the shootout loss the 4th place Kings are 9 points back of Anaheim, and 5 points clear of the 8th and final playoff spot.