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There Is Only One Side to This L.A. Rivalry

The Ducks are 8-1-2 against the Kings since their final meeting of 1997-98. The Ducks say their mastery over the Kings will mean nothing when the teams play Saturday at Staples Center, however.

“Rivalry games always have a lot of penalties and the hockey isn’t always that good,” right wing Teemu Selanne said. “We have to go out and play and whatever happens, happens. We have a problem when we have big games sometimes. We get in trouble when we think too much. We have to play a pretty simple game. We’re a good team when we move our legs. When we can’t use our speed, we have problems.”

Coach Craig Hartsburg spoke only in general terms when asked about the Kings’ strengths and weaknesses.

“They’re a high-energy team,” he said. “They have good starts. They can score. They play a good hard game.”

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OK, but why have the Ducks been so dominant?

“Each game we’ve played has been a little different,” Hartsburg said. “Guy [Hebert, Duck goaltender,] has stood on his head and won us the game. Or the power play has come through. Or somebody else has had a big game.”

One thing is for certain. The Ducks believe they know the Kings better than any other team.

“We’ve watched all their games and they’ve probably watched all of ours,” Hartsburg said. “When you have teams so close to each other, there are no secrets. It’s like the New York and New Jersey teams. They all know what the other teams are all about.”

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Hartsburg was glued to the TV while the Kings and Sharks battled to a 1-1 tie Wednesday. But he also watched Toronto defeat St. Louis, Phoenix edge Atlanta, Colorado hold off Edmonton, Dallas rout Florida and Detroit beat Vancouver--all through the magic of his satellite dish.

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Left wing Marty McInnis participated in the team’s practice Thursday, his second full-speed workout in three days. McInnis has missed 20 of the last 27 games because of a groin injury, but he hopes to play Saturday.

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