LOS ANGELES KINGS vs ANAHEIM DUCKS – FREEWAY FACEOFF
Fourth of five games between the two teams
DATE/TIME: Saturday, March 15, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket
PLACE: Staples Center
SEASON SERIES TO DATE: Ducks lead, 2 games to 1
KINGS CURRENT RECORD:
38-22-6, 82 points
Third place in the Pacific Division, 6th place in the Western Conference
*Won last eight in a row (going into the March 13th game vs the Toronto Maple Leafs)
DUCKS CURRENT RECORD:
43-16-7, 93 points
First place in the Pacific Division, 2nd place in the Western Conference
*Lost last four in a row
Anze Kopitar – 20 goals, 35 assists, 55 points
Jeff Carter – 24 goals, 19 assists, 43 points
Jonathan Quick – 2.02 GAA
Ryan Getzlaf – 29 goals, 42 assists, 71 points
Corey Perry – 35 goals, 31 assists, 66 points
Jonas Hiller – 2.34 GAA
The last time these two NHL teams met, it was under very interesting circumstances.
They played on a baseball diamond a few miles north of downtown L.A., complete with a sand volleyball pit, a bandstand where the rock group KISS played between periods, and a pre-game fanfare featuring the USC marching band.
The Ducks pretty much dominated that game, beating a offensive-deficient Kings team 3-0 in front of what was the largest crowd to ever see a hockey game on the west coast.
Judging by the fact that the Kings have won their last eight contests – going into their match with the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight – and the Ducks have lost their last four games, it’s safe to say that much has changed since that historical Winter Classic game at Dodger Stadium this past January.
The recent Olympic break was just what the Kings needed as they have taken seven games in a row since the flame was extinguished in Sochi, Russia.
Meanwhile their Orange County counterparts, after being so dominant that a berth in the Stanley Cup finals seemed like a mere formality, have fallen on hard times.
A 7-2 shellacking by a mediocre Calgary Flames team last night is a very good illustration of that.
Despite that, the Ducks remain in first place in the division, and only the St. Louis Blues have more points among the NHL’s 30 teams to this point.
And like other crosstown rivalries (read: UCLA – USC) the cliche of “You throw the records out” will most likely apply here as there’s no better way for Anaheim to get back on track than against their I-5 rivals.
As for the Kings, I’m sure they won’t look past the Maple Leafs tonight, as that has been a factor for their recent success.
Even though 50,000 people won’t be watching, the hockey fans in SoCal will be looking forward to this latest edition of the Kings-Ducks rivalry as much as they did at Chavez Ravine.
Particularly since there is but a few weeks left in the regular season and both L.A. area teams are trying to get as good a seed as they can for the playoffs.
So expect an entertaining, hard-fought match that may not have as much history and significance as the Bruins and the Trojans, but is quite intense in its own right.