By Kyle Shohara
For the first time in hockey history, the Ducks will face the rival LA Kings in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. All the action begins on Saturday night here inside Honda Center in the “Battle for Southern California.” After practice this morning, the Ducks shared their thoughts on taking their rivalry with the Kings to a new and unprecedented level.
“It’s exciting,” said Matt Beleskey. “Ducks-Kings has never happened, so it’s going to be fun and exciting series for everyone. The fans might be able to see a couple of games on the road and at home. It’s going to be a great series.”
“It’s very intense,” said Nick Bonino on the rivalry. “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.”
Cam Fowler says the Kings play an old school style of hockey that, at its core, is simple, smart and physical. “They play with big bodies and finish all of their checks,” he said. “They’re going to do things simple, and that’s what’s made them so successful. They play a very tight system and they’re tough to score goals on.”
“We’ve played against the Kings so many times, we all know each other,” said Ryan Getzlaf. “It’s just going to be a good, hard-fought battle. There are no surprises. We’re excited to get things started.”
Head coach Bruce Boudreau says LA’s impressive comeback against the Sharks reminds him of the team’s 2012 Stanley Cup run. “They just kept coming, and didn’t deviate from the way they played,” he said. “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.”
HART TROPHY FINALIST
Earlier today, the Ducks announced that captain Ryan Getzlaf has been named a finalist for the 2013-14 Hart Memorial Trophy by the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA). The Hart Trophy is awarded annually “to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.” The winner will be announced Tuesday, June 24 during the 2014 NHL Awards from Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas.
Getzlaf, 28, is the fourth player in Ducks history to be named a finalist for the award, joining Corey Perry in 2010-11, Teemu Selanne in 1997-98 (finished third in voting) and Paul Kariya in 1996-97 (second in voting). Only seven other players from California-based teams have been Hart Trophy finalists in the history of the NHL.
“It’s an honor to be a part of a group like that,” Getzlaf said. “With the success our team has had, it’s a real honor for me. It’s been a great year.”
Getzlaf scored 31-56=87 points with a +28 rating in 77 regular-season games. The 6-1, 221-pound center led the Ducks in scoring, assists and power-play points (23), and ranked third in plus/minus. He set career highs in goals and game-winning goals (7), while finishing second in the NHL in scoring, fifth in assists, tied for sixth in even-strength goals (26), and tied for second among forwards in blocked shots (87).