The Kings headed into Anaheim with an 0-2 record since returning from a 4 game road trip and their scheduled "bye" week. Having become accustomed to seeing them play on the road, I decided to follow them to the Honda Center.
And I wasn't the only one!
I was a little concerned that the recent postseason disappointments may have led to fewer Kings fans showing up to Ducks games…
Since the Kings wore black on their recent road trip, I was excited to see them in their road whites again. Then the two teams skated out for warmups…
As usual, Kings fans were well represented at Honda Center. Before the players could break a sweat, they made themselves heard.
Attending a game in Anaheim is always a fascinating experience. The Kings roots extend back into Southern California history so deeply that there are always plenty of Kings fans in attendance of every shape and size.
Across all generations…
And they do it with STYLE...
... even representing teams from Anaheim that called themselves LA.
I was hoping the crowd support would spur an offensive explosion from the Kings. I was hoping the Kings would prevent another three game losing streak. I was hoping Adrian Kempe would announce his presence with authority the way Anze Kopitar had done in this building so many years ago.
Wanna feel old? Go back and see when an 11 year NHL veteran scored their first NHL goal.
Like the game against Arizona, Kempe came close but failed to capitalize on an excellent scoring chance. While he couldn't hit the back of the net, he did manage to hit Jared Boll.
Ultimately, this was a Ducks home game. So there were legions of Ducks fans. Ordinarily, I don't like to see little kids cry on their birthday. But in this case, I was willing to make an exception.
I suppose the silver lining was when Josh Manson scored the only goal of the game. At least that kid got his birthday wish.
The Ducks and Kings have been rivals for over 20 years, but it was only in the past few seasons that things have become really contentious between the two clubs. There's no safe ground in the battle between two fan bases. Not even the jumbotrons.
With the Kings losing and the Ducks and their fans mocking our plight, I was beginning to feel a bit glum.
Then I realized it was Hockey Day in America!
It was a day to celebrate hockey and how it brings us all together. The Kings and Ducks have been divisional rivals, and while we could waste our energy fighting with our neighbors over who's got the most Stanley Cup banners (we do) or who won it first (who cares)... at the end of the day, we're all hockey fans. That's what really matters.
Just ask these guys.