The LA Kings Journey To The Stanley Cup: Western Conference Semifinals – Anaheim Ducks


In my last piece, I went over the Los Angeles Kings epic #ReverseSweep that shocked the San Jose Sharks. The Kings division rivals were leading the series 3-0, putting the Kings on the edge of elimination… four times. But LA stood strong and fought back in the remaining games of the series, becoming only the fourth team in playoff history to win a series after being down 3-0.

It was embarrassing for San Jose and empowering for LA, which was really important considering the Kings next opponent… the hated Anaheim Ducks. The regular season Western Conference Champion Anaheim Ducks, to be precise, and they were to meet in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Round 2: Western Conference Semifinals Vs Anaheim Ducks

Game 1, May 3

Kings 3 at Anaheim 2 (2OT) – Los Angeles lead series 1-0

Forget the last round, this was the series all of hockey-loving Southern California has been waiting for. Los Angeles and Anaheim have never met in the playoffs. They have had many epic regular season battles, but nothing more important than the series of games in the 2014 Western Conference Semifinals. Each team has won one Stanley Cup and both were looking to get another, but they would have to go through their state, division and conference rival.

LA opened the scoring as Alec Martinez put one in the net at the end of the 1st period. Less than two minutes later, Matt Beleskey netted the puck around an out-of-place Jonathan Quick. The painful news for the Kings came in the second period when Robyn Regehr was injured and not only left they game, but the playoffs. Luckily, Marian Gaborik eased that pain and scored the final two goals and made General Manager Dean Lombardi look like a genius after he orchestrated that trade with Columbus. Anaheim was shocked and their fans started fights outside the Honda Center.

Oh yeah, and

Corey Perry

is a jerk.

Game 2, May 5

Kings 3 at Ducks 1 – Los Angeles lead series 2-0

With Regehr out, Jeff Schultz was called in and did a decent job. In the mean time, Marian Gaborik and Alec Martinez kept the goals going as each netted their own in the first period. Patrick Maroon kept the Ducks alive as he banked the puck off of Jake Muzzin‘s skate to make it 2-1 at the end of the first. It was one of many #MuzzKill moments, but the Kings held on. They had great puck management and disallowed another Anaheim goal in the game. To insure the third road victory in a row, whilst rubbing salt in the wounds, Dwight King scored an empty netter to make it 3-1. The series against Anaheim was going as every Kings fan hoped.

That was the Kings sixth straight win in the playoffs.

Game 3, May 8

Ducks 3 at Kings 2 – Los Angeles lead series 2-1

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This is a big year for Alex Turcotte and the Los Angeles Kings
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  • The series now shifted back to Staples Center for the next two games, which meant a chance to sweep the regular season Western Conference Champions. That did not happen.

    The Ducks quack attack kept pressuring the Kings and pushed the puck past Jonathan Quick to take an eventual 3-1 lead in the game. Mike Richards then gave the Kings some hope with a minute left in the game, but it ended 3-2 in favor of the Ducks. Sure this game was a downer, but the Ducks took a hit as Frederik Andersen left the game halfway through the third period. Things were not safe in the crease for Anaheim.

    Game 4, May 10

    Ducks 2 at Kings 0 – Series ties 2-2

    Well heck, that happened? I was actually at this game and I can tell you it was not fun for the LA fans. The Ducks scored two goals in the first period from Devante Smith-Pelly and Ryan Getzlaf. Anaheim even toyed with the Kings and called in a young player to hold down the goal. Rookie John Gibson played his first playoff game and what a way to start. He shut out the Kings as he denied all 28 of the Kings shots. What a way to welcome a scrub to the playoffs. Still, the big picture shifts this series back to Anaheim as it was now a three-game series.

    Game 5, May 12

    Kings 3 at Ducks 4 – Anaheim lead series 3-2

    Things started well for the Kings, but that changed in no time. Nick Bonino and Trevor Lewis (can you believe it?) had each scored to make it 1-1 after 1 period. Then the second period happened and Anaheim rattled off three goals, two by Smith-Pelly and one by Jakob Silfverberg. It was 4-1. The savior, Marian Gaborik, had scored two additional goals, but it was not enough.

    It was the fifth time that LA faced elimination, and for some reason it felt worse than the four previous times against San Jose. The Kings were on the verge of losing the first playoff series against their Southern California rivals. It was not just about losing to Anaheim, but about them getting closer to having one more Stanley Cup than Anaheim. Not to mention the Anaheim fans would not let the Los Angeles fans live it down.

    The series now shifted back to LA.

    Game 6, May 14

    Ducks 1 at Kings 2 – Series tied 3-3

    Jake Muzzin and Trevor Lewis scored the first two goals in the game. Muzzin got one past John Gibson in the first while Lewis did the same thing in the second. Kyle Palmieri got the Ducks one goal but the swarming Kings defense had suffocated any and every attack Anaheim put forth. Jonathan Quick was, well, quick in his execution. He played like the MVP Quick of the Kings 2012 championship team.

    Things were even now. There was one more game to be played and it was for everything. An opportunity to win the series, a chance to return to the Western Conference Finals and a bragging right for the next year. So back to Anaheim we go.

    Game 7, May 16

    Kings 6 at Ducks 2 – Los Angeles wins series 4-3

    Here it is. The game and series both Los Angeles and Anaheim fans hoped for. One game to decide the winner of the first playoff match-up between these two heated rivals. It was one game and it was beautiful.

    LA had beaten Anaheim to a bloody pulp. If head coach Darryl Sutter had wished for defense to lead to offense, than Christmas came early for him as the Kings had a solid 5-0 lead by the end of the second period. Justin Williams, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik had scored in succession to beat, wreck, smash, crack, thump, smack, bash and dismantle the regular season Western Conference Conference champions. But now, it was time to prove who the real Western Conference Champions are.

    The Los Angeles Kings had claimed victory over their rivals for the first time, and it will not be the last. With the way last season’s realignment worked out, these two teams should see a lot more of each other in the future, but now there was something bigger to tend to, taking down the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.

    The same team that ended the Kings own Stanley Cup defense, one year previous.

    But before that happened, despite a epic battle between two foes, respect was the lasting impression of this series. It was

    Teemu Selanne

    ‘s last game. The Kings had honored him with a send-off befitting of a hockey legend.