The Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings have shared the ice, sort of, in Southern California for 17 years now. Never have they made it to the playoffs in the same season. It was always one or the other (or sometimes neither).
This year, we finally get to see both teams in the playoffs in the same season. Not against each other (and the chances of both of them winning to take each other on are slim) but hey, this is a start.
Anaheim starts the playoffs Wednesday against Nashville. Banged-up Los Angeles starts Thursday night in the all-California series against San Jose.
The Ducks and Predators are going to be some old-time hockey. Not quite putting on the foil with Hanson Brothers, but about as close as today's game gets. These are two teams who made it to the playoffs being more physical than you -- and those teams can do well in the playoffs.
The Ducks also bring firepower -- Corey Perry scored 50 goals to lead the NHL this season and Teemu Selanne may be older than a redwood tree but he still had 31 goals and 80 points this season. Plus they have Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan. The Ducks will need all that scoring -- Nashville's Pekka Rinne with the Predator defense in front of him allowed the third fewest goals per game this season. If the Ducks can get some power play goals (Nashville had the fifth best penalty kill percentage in the league this season), it will help a lot.
The Kings take on the second-seeded Sharks, but the problem is Los Angeles will be without Anze Kopitar (who led the team with 73 points) and are just getting second leading scorer Justin Williams back from a dislocated shoulder. Without them, the Kings have 11 goals in their last seven games and goals are harder to come by in the playoffs.
For the Kings, it will be all about goalie Jonathan Quick. He had 35 wins this season -- the first Kings goalie ever to get back-to-back 30-win seasons. He'll need Drew Doughty to go get the Drew Doughty from last season and get him back on the ice.
The Sharks come in firing on all cylinders and they look hungry. The Kings are going to have to plant the seeds of doubt in their minds with some spectacular wins to get out of this series and move on.