It’s the series that hockey has been waiting 20 years to see. Finally, the Kings and the Ducks will play against each other in the Western Conference semifinals, setting the stage for a highly-anticipated regional battle.
SoCal finally has a much-deserved hockey spotlight.
Here’s what you need to know about the first-ever postseason Freeway Faceoff series.
Getzlaf and Perry both finished the regular season among the league leaders in points and Perry in goals. They work so well with one another that you could suit up an equipment manager and put him on the left side and it still wouldn’t disrupt any line chemistry between "The Twins" (although one twin has considerably more hair). Andrew Cogliano and Nick Bonino are dangerous snipers on the second and third lines and fourth-line left winger Patrick Maroon is having a breakout performance.
The Kings top players have played like top players and when top liners Anze Kopitar (10 points, plus-3 rating in the playoffs) and Marian Gaborik are in their groove they can be nearly impossible to stop. Justin Williams’ two nicknames, "Mr. Clutch" and "Mr. Game 7" speak for themselves.
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The Kings will attempt to dictate their defensive style of play. They want to turn this series into a low-scoring, grueling, physical battle and have the ability to if they slow down Getzlaf and contain Perry. Games 1 and 2 of the last series aside, the Kings have allowed only two goals in their last three games. It’s not always pretty to watch but the Kings are at their best when they’re playing a gritty, defensive game.
Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick, the recipient of the Jennings Trophy, has found his old form after two disastrous games to start the playoffs. His glove save on Patrick Marleau in Game 7 was the turning point in the clinching game and as he showed when he jumped Joe Thornton in Game 6, he’s got a playoff fire lit underneath the crease right now.
The Kings have scored six power play goals in their last five games. The Ducks, even without Robidas, are killing off 89.7 percent of penalties – tied for the second-best mark in the postseason.
Both coaches have done their share of line jumbling in the first round. Darryl Sutter dressed seven defensemen in Game 2 against San Jose and Boudreau dismantled nearly every line for Games 3 and 4 in Dallas. Both were failed experiments, but both coaches made the necessary adjustments to come back and win.
The Kings have the same core group from their 2012 Stanley Cup run still in place and that chemistry was a defining factor in their historic comeback in the first round. That comeback itself could aid the Kings as they’ve won the last four straight and haven’t had a chance to get stale and lose the momentum.
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