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Friendly game for Kings, Ducks

January 28, 2008|Helene Elliott

ATLANTA -- Until this weekend, Kings forward Anze Kopitar thought of Ducks forwards Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf as enemies.

After sitting beside them in the West All-Stars' locker room this weekend, Kopitar gained a new appreciation for his rivals.

"We actually became good friends," he said Sunday. "It doesn't really matter if we're Kings and Ducks. They're good guys off the ice. On the ice that's the job and we kind of have to maybe hate each other, but now we can respect each other."

The five players who represented the Kings and Ducks acquitted themselves well in the East's 8-7 victory over the West.

Kopitar didn't score, but he had the crowd gasping when he flicked a deft pass over the net to linemate Mike Ribiero, who almost scored.

"Those are the games that you just have to try that sometimes," Kopitar said, the youngest player on either team at 20.

Getzlaf, playing on the wing with Perry on the other flank and Nashville's Jason Arnott at center, scored the goal that began the West's third-period push. He also had an assist. Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer scored the third West goal with a quick shot from the slot and was a game-high plus-three.

Ducks captain Chris Pronger didn't score but played 20 minutes 39 seconds, mostly alongside Chicago's Duncan Keith. Perry also missed the scoresheet but was a plus-one.

"I had a blast. It was a great weekend," Getzlaf said. "I enjoyed it a lot, sharing it with the guys in this room. Some of these guys I'd never talk to otherwise."

Both local teams will resume their seasons on the road. The Kings will play at Philadelphia on Tuesday, while the Ducks play at Minnesota on Wednesday.

"It's back to the real stuff," Niedermayer said. "It's going to go pretty quick now."

-- Helene Elliott

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