It’s a bitter rivalry, however, it has been recently owned by the Anaheim Ducks when it comes to the actual results.
The Ducks, thanks to the winning goal from Patrick Maroon, held on to defeat the L.A. Kings by a final score of 2-1 on Saturday evening. That’s three wins in a row for Anaheim over L.A., although there is one final regular season meeting on April 12. Three of their four meetings against each other this season have been one-goal games.
Maroon has a pair of game-winners against L.A. this season, too.
Of course, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that these two teams meet in the playoffs. But there is still plenty of hockey left to determine that.
As for Saturday night, the Kings, without Dustin Brown due to illness, did manage to put to an end the Ducks’ combined shutout streak of almost 150 minutes against L.A., dating back to Jan. 23. Tyler Toffoli scored on a power play, finally giving the Kings a goal against the Ducks.
So, perhaps that is a positive. Probably not.
For the Ducks, the win ends a turbulent week in which they lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames – they played “ridiculous” in that latter game – but then beat the Colorado Avalanche and Kings.
Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.
Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.
The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.
“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told NJ.com. “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”
At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.
The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.
Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.
There’s another Raffl in the NHL.
On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.
Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.
“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.
With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.
For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.