There is no greater rivalry than the cross state rivalry; especially in the playoffs. We saw this with the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks. Unfortunately for the Sharks, they blew a 3:0 series lead resulting in the Kings advancement to the second round to face off against their second cross state rivals, the Anaheim Ducks.
The Kings took the first two games; both held in Anaheim. As is plays out, the next two games, Game 3 and 4 are set to be held in Los Angeles. The Kings were looking to make this an easy series; how couldn't they? They were playing at home in front of their home fans. Well, something clicked for the Ducks and they realized that if something didn't happen in Game 3, they would fall to 3:0 in the series and face elimination in Game 4. Something did happen for the Ducks, they decided to go with rookie goaltender, Frederik Andersen over starting goaltender, Jonas Hiller. Andersen posted a first period shutout and a power-play goal by forward, Corey Perry, would put the Ducks in the drivers seat.
(Photo Credit: NHL.com)
The Kings began to pose a threat in the second period as forward, Jeff Carter would net a power-play goal to even up the tilt. Roughly ten minutes later, veteran forward, Teemu Selanne would tip in the games third power-play goal to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead. The third period would test the Ducks ability to conform to change; midway through the third period, Hiller would replace Andersen do to a lower-body injury. This is when things started to look shaky for the Duck, Hiller's record at the Staples Center in Los Angeles is 0-7 while Andersen's; 2-0. However, there was nothing else the Ducks could really do; they didn't want to over work Andersen and possibly injure him even more. The next best thing, Hiller. Fortunately for the Ducks, Ben Lovejoy would get the insurance goal at the 17:05 mark of the third period. With just thirty-one seconds left, Kings forward, Mike Richards would find the back of the net to close the two goal deficit. Luckily, with only thirty-one seconds left, the Ducks would be able to hold off Kings and stop the bleeding. Game 4 is set to be played on Saturday, May 10 in Los Angeles.
The key to the Ducks victory comes down to their defense; who, amidst all of the Kings shots, were able to help out both goaltenders (Andersen and Hiller) and ensure that shots were being blocked and passes were being broken up.