The last time the
The Kings swooped into Anaheim on May 16 for the seventh game of their second-round playoff series and routed the Ducks, 6-2, sending Selanne into retirement and ushering the top-seeded Ducks into summer vacation. While the Ducks went home to think of what might have been, the Kings went on to win the
"You want to put it behind you," Ducks winger
The teams will meet Wednesday at
"I think they're the team to beat. End of story," Ducks forward
The Kings also seemed to welcome the renewal of the rivalry christened during their first playoff series.
"We were happy to beat them in the playoffs last year and I'm sure they weren't too happy that we did," defenseman
The Ducks are second in the West despite losing their last three games, all at home, once in overtime and twice in shootouts. They will be without their goal-scoring leader
The Kings, still without indefinitely suspended defenseman
"I feel like our team does play well there ever since I've been in the league," Doughty said.
The Kings played well enough to win that seventh game last May and influence the Ducks' off-season strategy.
Recognizing the difference made by the Kings' strength up the middle, the Ducks traded for second-line center
The Kings are largely the same as they were last spring, minus Voynov and injured defenseman
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau, who coached the Kings' top farm team a decade ago, still keeps an eye on his former employer.
"They played a great game in Dallas and they played a great game against Vancouver so they're starting to step it up," he said. "I think it will be a great test for us to see exactly where we are now that we've had a couple days off and are playing them."
It also could be a reminder for the Ducks of the disappointment they felt last spring. But center
"They were a good team. They deserved it. That's about the extent of it," he said. "Not any harder feelings or anything like that. ... They took a hard road last year to get where they were. They took the hardest road possible, I think, in the playoffs. So they earned it."
Wednesday's winner will earn bragging rights for a few days. But Boudreau cautioned against reading too much into the outcome.
"It's two points. As far as the importance goes, we beat them five times last year or something and how important was that come May? It wasn't important at all," he said of the Ducks' 4-0-1 regular-season record against the Kings. "Our importance right now is to get to the playoffs."
Maybe the postseason paths of the Kings and Ducks will converge again. Until then, Wednesday's game promises to add some emotion to the 82-game rehearsal for the playoffs.
Follow Helene Elliott on Twitter @helenenothelen