It’s Rivalry Week at SB Nation!
The Anaheim Ducks entered the NHL for the 1993-94 season. After a rough nine seasons, the Ducks turned into one of the most consistent teams in the NHL.
The Freeway Face-Off between the Ducks and Kings has been a staple in the local SoCal hockey community. Anaheim was able to pluck local fans away from Los Angeles when the Ducks entered the league. With Orange County serving as the Ducks’ market, it is a natural rivalry with Kings fans.
As both teams teams improved on the ice, the competition became more fierce. During the early 2010s the Ducks and Kings were among the best teams in the NHL. Their 2014 second-round playoff matchup was big-boy hockey at its finest. After Los Angeles won the first two games, Anaheim roared back to win the next three, and take a 3-2 series lead. Unfortunately, the Kings came back to win the next two, and take the series in seven games. The battles between those Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Drew Doughty, and Anze Kopitar led teams were hard-fought, and intense. Both squads, were big, physical, and mean, making their matchups must-watch games for even casual fans.
Although both teams are rebuilding right now, the hate between the franchises, and their fan bases is still very much alive. The Ducks lead the all-time series with a record of 69-64-11 against the Kings.
The Sharks are another California rival. They have been a consistent contender for much of the past decade, battling it out with the Ducks and Kings for in-state supremacy. Anaheim and San Jose have been among the NHL’s best until recent years. Things got more intense between the teams after goaltender Jonas Hiller lead the Ducks to a massive upset over the Sharks in the first round of the 2008-09 playoffs. Anaheim was the No. 8 seed coming in, and defeated the heavily favored San Jose squad 4-2. The Sharks returned the favor during the 2018 playoffs, sweeping the Ducks in the first round.
The 2019-20 season marks the first time all three California-based teams miss the playoffs since 1995-96.
Los Angeles and San Jose are obvious rivals, but who do you think is Anaheim’s next biggest foe in the NHL?