Hoo baby -- thanks to a major Hollywood rewrite of the past week-and-a-half of NHL game results, tonight the Teemu-less Ducks face the Greener-less Kings in L.A. with only a 4 standings-point difference between the two clubs! Amazing how things have tightened up -- the distance from 3rd to 12th in the west as of this morning is only 10 standings points.
And while there are still many western conference teams mixed in this 2nd-half playoff shuffle, we mustn't forget the Highlander-inspired "There can be only one!" curse about SoCal hockey -- there has never been an NHL postseason that has featured both the Ducks and the Kings. Ever. In every postseason since 1997 only one SoCal team has advanced to the western playoffs, with varying success -- except 2004, when neither qualified. So if that trend holds true, tonight's matchup is huge -- which one of these two teams will fight their way into the playoffs this season, and by process-of-historic-elimination force the other to early tee times?
In the immortal words of Brent Severyn, it should be a dandy.
A classic from old days, back when I cartooned while looking at source material.
This is, of course, as good as a time as any to remind commenters about the bet Rudy and I made before this season started: whose team will finish higher in the standings when the season ends? The loser of the bet has to change his signature to whatever hilarious or spiteful nonsense BoC commenters decide -- feel free to leave nominations for loser sigs in the comments. For a long while there I thought I'd had this contest lost, but now it seems way more up in the air -- we'll definitely be revisiting before season's end.
At this point, the Ducks' biggest problem appears to be winning within the BoC. Here's a Ducks-Kings comparison for you:
|vs. Non-BoC Opponents||Record||WinPct||GF/gm||GA/gm||GD/gm|
|Los Angeles Kings||21-17-2||.550||+2.68||-2.78||-0.10|
|vs. BoC Opponents||Record||WinPct||GF/gm||GA/gm||GD/gm|
|Los Angeles Kings||4-1-1||.750||+3.83||-2.67||+1.17|
Anaheim now has a better record against non-BoC teams than the Kings do, but it's the intrastate matchups that are killing them. The Ducks have been dominated by the Sharks and the Kings, while the Kings have turned a leaf and done very well against their BoC opponents. I guess you can only beat a team down for so long.
But five wins in a row breeds new hope; tonight can swing the short-term BoC pendulum of power. Yee haw.
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Confessional: I had a series of regular tweets a few weeks ago, the most recent version of which said this:
Stat for Carlyle to consider: in 15 periods played without Nick Boynton dressed, the Ducks are being outscored 21 – 5. Twenty-one to five!
Well, in the 15 periods played without Nick Boynton since that tweet, the Ducks have now outscored opponents 18 to 9. Eighteen to nine! Sorry, Carlyle, and sorry, Eminger. And sorry, Boynton -- looks like you're still sitting.
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And lastly, pour out some booze tonight for promoted comrade James Mirtle, the guy who founded this site, brought us over to SB Nation, and yesterday announced that he is finally moving from his own site to take a dream job covering Blowhard Burke and his Maple Leafs. While it's great news and congratulations for Mr. Mirtle, it'll be a huge void in the blogosphere -- From The Rink is a tremendous site and has been an inspiration to most every hockey blogger there is.
But hey, who says there's no future in hockey blogging, eh, mom?
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Prediction: A huge BoC matchup with no Brian Hayward anywhere, and of course it had to happen on a Thursday -- I won't be around until sometime late in the third period, so play nice. Ducks keep rolling -- Ducks 3, Kings 2. Goals by Perry, Scotty, and the OT winner by the healthy-jawed Finn Koivu.