Boy, if you thought the Ducks and Stars series was nasty and filled with bitter hatred, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
In the regular season the Kings and Ducks hate each other. Especially the fans. Put them in a playoff series for the first time in 20 years? Nuclear fission.
“It’s very intense,” observed Nick Bonino, who is becoming Mr. Clutch for Anaheim. “It’s a physical rivalry. There are so many hits, fights, and everything. It definitely brings the intensity up and it’s a lot like the regular season when we play these guys. They’ve got tons of Kings fans in our building, and we’ve got Ducks fans in theirs. I’m expecting to see more of that.”
You have to admit, the travel is pretty sweet. Depending on traffic, it’s an hour up the freeway (or two….or more). No airplanes involved in getting from point A to point B.
That way both teams can save their energy for on the ice.
Los Angeles had to make an historic comeback against the San Jose Sharks after being down 3-0 in the series. When the real Kings came out in games 4, 5, 6 and 7, there was no stopping them.
“They just kept coming, and didn’t deviate from the way they played,” said coach Bruce Boudreau. “They had four lines playing. And [Jonathan] Quick was looking so much more like Quick in the last four games than he did in the first three. That’s good for them.”
Good for them. Bad for Anaheim.
LA also carries the momentum and routine into the second round, which begins on Saturday night at the Honda Center. The Ducks have been resting, healing and practicing since defeating the Dallas Stars on Sunday night.
But as in the regular season, it won’t be hard for both teams to be up for this one.
“We’ve played against the Kings so many times, we all know each other,” said captain Ryan Getzlaf. “It’s just going to be a good, hard-fought battle. There are no surprises. We’re excited to get things started.”
Getzlaf was announced as one of three finalists for the Hart Trophy earlier today. His linemate, Corey Perry, won it in 2011. Will it be Getzlaf’s turn this year?
The captain was also nominated earlier for the Mark Messier Leadership Award, a nomination he shares with the Kings captain, Dustin Brown.
Which one of those two players will lead their team to the Western Conference Finals?