Kings, Ducks finally make playoffs in same year
Once again one more piece of history is written in the rich Southern California sports world.
No, the Los Angeles Lakers did not win three consecutive titles for a second time in the last 10 years, that has yet to occur. It is happening on the ice in the National Hockey League and for the first time, the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks will compete during the postseason in the same year.
Since the 1993-94 season when the Ducks became a franchise and the Kings were defeated in the Stanley Cup Finals the previous year, the two Western Conference rivals have never achieved simultaneous playoff berths.
One team would always sit and watch while the other continued its season.
Well not this year.
This was due to a tough hockey league and this year did not lighten up either as the Ducks were able to clinch the No. 4 seed in the West. In fact, Anaheim was on the bubble of whether it was going to make the playoffs at all let alone skate comfortably on its own ice.
After going on a five-game losing streak, the Ducks (47-30-5) bounced back and won 14 of their last 19 games, including two victories over the Kings last week that sealed the deal.
Friday’s game ended in a close 2-1 victory and the next (a 3-1 victory) clinched Anaheim’s place in the postseason and buried the Kings into the depths of the conference.
Over the weekend, Los Angeles caused its own turmoil as the team could have killed two Ducks with one stone by eliminating Anaheim from playoff contention and clinching fourth place with just one win, but did not come through.
Now the Kings (46-30-6) will have to settle for the seventh seed and is possible that the two teams can meet up once again.
This season, Anaheim has held the advantage over Los Angeles with a 4-2 record in the regular season series. The Ducks could potentially become a problem for the Kings down the road.
If the two do meet in the playoffs, I am confident the city of Los Angeles would go crazy, since this would definitely be an intense situation between the two clubs, but realistically speaking, I do not think the rivalry will go that far.
Both Los Angeles and Anaheim have held a prosperous season with Anaheim, the more fairy tale story, but I do not see either of the two teams making it out of the first round.
Looking at statistics of the first round matchups, the Kings and Ducks are not going to fair well against their first round opponents.
With the No. 4 seed locked in place, the Ducks will face the No. 5 Nashville Predators, a team that has beaten Anaheim in three of its four meetings this season. In the one game, the Ducks did win in November, but barely pulled through.
The Kings with the No. 7 seed will face the No. 2 San Jose Sharks for the first time in postseason history. The Sharks led the Kings with a 3-1-2 record over Los Angeles in the regular season.
Maybe the two West Coast teams can go the distance and force a great seven-game series since this is the playoffs and anything can happen regardless of what occurred, or did not occur in the regular season.
If not, there is always next year and besides, history has already been made.