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Kings, Ducks to meet for first time this season

The Southern California hockey teams play in Anaheim on Saturday.

February 01, 2013|By Helene Elliott and Lisa Dillman

Leave it to Ducks Coach Bruce (Gabby) Boudreau to wax poetic about his team's season series against the Kings.

"It's a rivalry and it's for Southern California. It's for Southern California bragging rights," Boudreau said. "I mean, I know as a person I don't like to see them on top and then every time you go outside they're flaunting it at you. And I'm sure they didn't like it after 2007 when the Ducks won.

"There becomes a hatred. The games are always picked up a little bit more with each other. That's what rivalries are. If you were looking at gangs, it's all about the turf. It's about the turf here."

Leave it to Kings Coach Darryl Sutter, the anti-Gabby, to be somewhat less lyrical as the teams prepared to meet Saturday in Anaheim for the first time this season.

"There's only a rivalry if both teams are fighting for the same spot," Sutter said Friday. "I'm not into that rivalry stuff unless there's two top teams that are battling for a spot."

The Ducks have had a better start than the Kings, who have scored only 11 goals. The Kings' power play is a league-worst two for 33 (6.1%), and they can't afford to waste so many advantages. Key players Mike Richards, Drew Doughty and Justin Williams have yet to score a goal.

The Kings ranked 29th in scoring last season but got timely goals during their playoff push. Their 2-1 shootout loss to Nashville at Staples Center on Thursday was their third one-goal game this season. They've scored more than two goals only once.

"Darryl always says it's a race to three. Sometimes it's a race to two. Sometimes it's a race to four," goaltender Jonathan Quick said. "That's how the game goes. From my standpoint you've got to make that save when the team needs it."

Kings left wing Dustin Penner, who said he was "waiting like a dog in a car, waiting to be let out" while scratched from the lineup, is set to return Saturday alongside Richards and Jeff Carter.

Penner said the key for him will be to "keep the RPMs up," and end his tendency to fade quickly. "Especially toward the end of shifts is when I can use my size to my advantage," he said.

He also said facing his former Ducks teammates "will be emotional, I'm sure. Freeway faceoff. Leave early for traffic."

Ducks winger Teemu Selanne called Kings players "great guys" for joining many Ducks for lively practices during the lockout and said he expects his team to be emotionally prepared Saturday.

"That's the big pride to try to beat the Stanley Cup champions," Selanne said. "We felt that after our Cup year. That's like a good business card to beat the champs."

KINGS AT DUCKS

When: 7.

Where: Honda Center.

On the air: TV: Fox Sports West, Prime Ticket. Radio: 1150, 830.

Season series (2011-12): Kings 5-1-0.

Etc: In 108 games against each other, the Ducks have outscored the Kings, 303-298. Twenty-six players have worn the uniform of both teams.

helene.elliott@latimes.com

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

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