By Kyle Shohara
On the eve of a historic postseason matchup between two rivals that was two decades in the making, the Battle for Southern California figures to be worth the wait.
The Ducks and Kings, rivals since Anaheim’s inaugural 1993-94 season, have played 117 regular-season games against each other all-time. The Ducks have a record of 53-41-23 vs. the Kings, going 28-13-15 at home and 25-28-8 on the road. The 2013-14 season series saw the Ducks go 4-0-1 vs. the Kings, including 1-0-1 at home and 3-0-0 on the road.
And tomorrow night, they take their rivalry to the grand stage. “With the rivalry that we have already, it’s just going to amp it up that much more,” said Corey Perry. “It’s great to be a part of this. I know both teams are eager to get this started.”
“Southern California has been waiting for this matchup for a very long time,” said Teemu Selanne. “It’s finally here. It’s going to be a tough series. Two tough teams with a lot of respect for each other, but, same hand, it’s a lot of competing.”
Selanne then put on his marketing hat when asked what this rivalry will do for the Southern California sports scene. “The rivalry has always been there, but we knew it needed one playoff series. Now it’ll be on another level,” he said. “There is a lot of competition in the marketplace on and off the ice. Marketing for the both teams…this is the time to take advantage of it.”
What the Stars possessed in speed, the Kings have in physicality. It’ll be an all-out battle on the ice during this seven-game series, and the Ducks say they’re ready for what lies ahead. “It’s going to be a war,” said rugged forward Patrick Maroon. “This is going to be a man’s game, and you’ve got to bring your working boots. We’re all excited here. We’re ready to get things going.”
Maroon had 14 hits in Anaheim’s six-game first-round series vs. Dallas, and ranks second in the league (behind LA’s Kyle Clifford) with 36 penalty minutes.
“We’re both big, strong teams, and that’s what playoff hockey is all about,” Maroon said. “We’re very excited for this series. We know what we’re supposed to do. Bring a lot of energy, get pucks deep, no turnovers and clog up the neutral zone.”
The Ducks enter Game 1 with a three-game winning streak on home ice during the postseason. During that series with the Stars, the players praised the fans for playing a major role in their success. They’ll look for that push once more in this series with the Kings.
“They’re a huge factor, especially because LA will probably bring some fans here,” said Maroon. “We need all of our fans in the building to be as loud as they can. Be a good presence because once they’re going, we’re going. That’s the biggest part. They did a good job in the first round, so let’s keep it going in the second round.”
“The home crowd can be such a huge advantage for the home team,” said Selanne. “It almost feels like the seventh player out there. The first series was awesome, and I’m expecting even more now. You’ve got enjoy every second.”