It's really a shame we'll probably have to say goodbye to either the Kings or Ducks by the third round of the playoffs. However, if we get a series between Los Angeles and Anaheim, it might just be worth it in the end.
Not only are the Kings and Ducks two of the best teams in the NHL right now, they're also producing playoff-style hockey in late February fueled by their intense burning hatred for the other club.
And what a welcome sight it was to see in the doldrums of the hockey season.
With eight penalties served in the first period alone, the Kings and Ducks are what many wish the Flyers and Penguins still were -- close location rivals with a flair for dramatic and intense games. Unlike the Keystone State Rivalry, both Los Angeles and Anaheim are still in the throes of success, and with the Ducks' recent surge up the Pacific Division standings, the tension has only grown.
If Jonathan Quick's antics are any indication, we might be looking at quite a memorable playoff series.
Quick takes aim at Perron pic.twitter.com/6VUFbCzYsj— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) February 29, 2016
Jonathan Quick: Best actor? pic.twitter.com/RwX2U3hzPz— Hotline Blinn (@NHLBlinn) February 29, 2016
In any case, the chips still have to fall in just the right places for it to happen. The current matchups have the Kings facing the Predators as the top team from the Pacific, with the Ducks squaring off against the third California team from San Jose.
Only after enduring that first round would we get one of the more compelling matchups these playoffs could have to offer. With Nashville's stock looking weaker thanks to Pekka Rinne and the Ducks holding an edge over the Sharks this season with a 3-1 record, the chances look as good as ever.
Who knows if we would even survive a series with the potential that the Kings and Ducks have, but we most certainly deserve to see it in front of our eyeballs.
Chicago Blackhawks 3, Washington Capitals 2
Minnesota Wild 3, Florida Panthers 1
St. Louis Blues 5, Carolina Hurricanes 2
Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Boston Bruins 1
San Jose Sharks 4, Vancouver Canucks 1
Anaheim Ducks 4, Los Angeles Kings 2
Edmonton Oilers 3, New York Islanders 1
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3 things we learned
1. Will there be any trades left for the deadline?
On another relatively quiet day of NHL hockey, the trades made the biggest splashes of the day. The Hurricanes did most of the work off the ice -- on it they were crushed by the Blues 5-2 -- as Carolina completed two trades. First, their captain Eric Staal was dealt to the Rangers as New York's window closes sooner than they'd like. Then, Kris Versteeg was sent to the Kings as Los Angeles ups their cabinet for the playoffs ahead. Just one more day of trades and you can all breathe again.
2. Did we get a Stanley Cup Final preview?
The Capitals and Blackhawks had the best odds for winning the Stanley Cup coming out of the All-Star Game earlier this month. The two clubs were only scheduled to play twice this season -- the first a mere week into the schedule when the Capitals took the Blackhawks to task in a 4-1 victory. This time, Chicago got their comeuppance and withstood a late Washington push to split their season meetings. Their next meeting? Potentially a series in early June for all of the marbles, if the odds are right.
3. The Minnesota Wild are back in it
A coaching change really has done Minnesota good it seems. New bench boss John Torchetti hit a recent snag with a three-game losing streak, but the Wild shrugged it off and gave the Panthers their fifth loss in eight games. As such, Minnesota has the chance to put pressure on the Avalanche in their next meeting on Tuesday, which could change the tide of the Western Conference wild card matchups.
Updated Western Conference wild card race. The #MNWild host the Avs Tuesday in a huge tilt. pic.twitter.com/ejK0FZVeEm— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) February 28, 2016
Tyler Johnson took an accidental puck to the face and came away bleeding more than anyone should have the right to see on television. Still, you can take a look at it for yourself in all its HD glory!
Stat of the Night
The @SanJoseSharks (22-9-3, 47 points) lead the NHL in road wins (22) and road points (47) this season. #SJSvsVAN pic.twitter.com/O5ut319Nqk— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 29, 2016