Ranking the Top 5 Moments in the Los Angeles Kings-Anaheim Ducks Rivalry
The Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks. No, it doesn’t have the historical appeal of the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, nor the rough stuff that was prominent in the Detroit Red Wings-Colorado Avalanche rivalry of the 1990s.
However, this battle of California—often called the Freeway Faceoff—ranks among the best rivalries in the game today, as both teams are Stanley Cup contenders.
The Ducks appear poised to take the Presidents' Trophy this season and are 17 points ahead of the Kings. Although they trail the Kings in the all-time series, they hold a 2-0-1 edge in 2013-14 with their most recent win coming at Dodger Stadium.
With that said, here is a look at the best moments in the Kings-Ducks rivalry.
Stats courtesy of NHL.com.
Honorable Mention: The Shootout
It's a shootout that shouldn't be forgotten and certainly won't be if your name is Martin Jones.
On December 3, 2013, the Kings and Ducks went eight rounds without a goal. Dwight King stepped up as the Kings' ninth shooter and snapped a shot home just below Jonas Hiller's glove. L.A. rookie goaltender Martin Jones then made his ninth consecutive save to give the Kings the win.
What makes this even more impressive? It was the first NHL game of Jones' career.
5. Teemu Selanne's Milestone Moment
Making his first of two appearances on the list is Teemu Selanne.
On January 30, 2006, Selanne broke a 1-1 tie between the Ducks and Kings by notching his 1000th career point on a breakaway goal. He made no mistake on the backhand—something we don't see as often anymore, except from Sidney Crosby.
Selanne has played 1,429 games. He ranks 11th all-time with 682 goals and 15th all-time with 1,448 points.
4. Anze Kopitar's 1st Goal
It's not just that this was Anze Kopitar's first goal in his first NHL game, it's the way that he scored it.
Kopitar sprang in from the right side, showing off his speed and size to get by legendary defenseman Chris Pronger and deke out goaltender J.S. Giguere.
Less than three minutes later, the Slovenian notched his second career goal. However, Pronger's Ducks got the best of the Kings, winning 4-3.
This represented the beginning of a new era in the rivalry.
3. Teemu Selanne Does the Unthinkable
The greatest Anaheim Duck of all time is the Finnish Flash, Teemu Selanne.
He will make his sixth Olympic appearance at Sochi, he's won a Stanley Cup and numerous other individual honors. Oh, and he has two career fights, which makes this incident in L.A. one of the more unique moments in his Hall of Fame career.
Immediately after Sheldon Brookbank got the best of Kyle Clifford in their tilt, Selanne and Brad Richardson dropped the gloves.
Only in a Kings-Ducks game can you see one of the game's all-time greats fight at age 40.
2. Kings Eliminate the Ducks
After beating the Kings 2-1 in a shootout three nights earlier, the Ducks needed to win again to keep their playoff hopes alive in 2010.
The Ducks held 3-0 and 4-1 leads in the second period, but that wasn't enough.
L.A. cut the lead to 4-2 before the intermission and a beautiful goal by Justin Williams made it 4-3 in the third. Then, with less than two minutes to play, the Kings scored again to send it to overtime.
Anze Kopitar notched the shootout winner to eliminate the Ducks from the postseason and help the Kings get closer to locking up the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference.
With so much on the line and the game seemingly in hand, this dramatic finish falls just short of the top spot on the list.
1. The Stadium Series Game
As they haven't yet met in the playoffs, the top moment in the rivalry was the game played Saturday, January 25 at Dodger Stadium.
The festivities included a beach volleyball court, street hockey rink, performances by KISS and Five For Fighting, and appearances by Vin Scully and Wayne Gretzky.
A sold-out crowd also witnessed a hockey game, albeit a tough one for Kings fans to watch.
Early goals by Corey Perry and Matt Beleskey as well as Jonas Hiller's save on Anze Kopitar's penalty shot proved crucial, as the Ducks shut out L.A. 3-0.