Kings 6, Ducks 3
It was an entirely different team out there tonight. And I'm not sure if it was a case of the Kings playing well... or the Ducks just being awful. And oh man, were they awful. I don't think I've ever seen the Ducks play this bad in the last few years.
I don't hate the Ducks because they are the cross-town rival. And I think the "Freeway Face-Off" is the worst crime of forced rivalry branding since the Lexus Gauntlet. (Besides, everyone knows that the Cortaca Jug is the most important rivalry battle.) No, I hate the Ducks because they were able to win a Stanley Cup within 14 years of being an expansion team.
Tonight, the Kings looked like the more promising Southern California hockey team. Wayne Simmonds' first NHL goal and his celebration afterwards put smiles on the faces of everyone in the arena. Which actually, wasn't many... the place was unusually empty for a Kings-Ducks game. 18 year old Drew Doughty looked strong for most of the night, even though it turns out he was battling the flu. Patrick O'Sullivan loves to skate backwards and stickhandle. And I think he may be the best in the league at it. And Matt Moulson not only picked the corner on JS Giguere... he had to turn the puck on its side first.
The victory was capped off by the release of hundreds of streamers into the air from the Staples rafters after the final buzzer sounded. My fellow Half Season Ticket Holder and I looked at each other... they can't do that after each victory, can they?
I think my Half Season Ticket Holder buddy hit the nail on the head when he turned to me and said "Well, they can't lose EVERY game." He is 100 % right, they can't. It doesn't matter how bad the other team played tonight. When a victory sends the Ducks to the bottom of the Pacific Division, even in a season that is barely a week old..., it's well-earned.