The Los Angeles Kings have been a formidable presence in the NHL since joining the league in the 1967-68 season. Over their more than half a century of existence, the Kings have seen a number of intense rivalries develop with other teams. These rivalries often stem from geographic proximity, shared division, and playoff history.
Among the most notable rivals for the Kings are the San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks. Both teams are located in California and compete within the same division, adding fuel to the competitive fire. Playoff history only intensifies these rivalries, as their battles for supremacy in the state turn into hard-fought matches that create lasting animosity among players and fans alike.
In recent years, a new rival has emerged for the Kings in the form of the Vegas Golden Knights. Located just over the Nevada border, this desert-based team has quickly risen to prominence in the NHL, shifting the dynamics of existing rivalries and adding another dimension to the competition among these teams. As the Kings continue to clash with their greatest rivals, fans can look forward to thrilling match-ups and unforgettable moments on the ice.
The Anaheim Ducks are one of the biggest rivals of the Los Angeles Kings. Both teams are based in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, with the Ducks hailing from Anaheim and the Kings from Los Angeles. Their rivalry, the Freeway Face-Off, is named for the massive freeway system in the area, specifically Interstate 5, which connects the two cities and their respective arenas.
This ice hockey rivalry has seen its share of intensity and memorable moments between the two National Hockey League (NHL) teams. Although the two teams have only met once in the playoffs, that series resulted in a memorable, seven-game battle in the second round of the 2014 playoffs.
The name “Freeway Face-Off” is akin to the “Freeway Series,” which refers to the rivalry between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Major League Baseball. The term captures the regional rivalry and close proximity of the two teams, with fans from both sides passionately supporting their respective squads.
Notable Game Moments
One notable series of game moments occurred during the teams’ 2014 second-round playoff matchup. After the Kings won the first two games, the Ducks rallied back to take the following three games, establishing a 3-2 series lead. However, the Kings did not falter and managed to win the next two games, ultimately securing a victory for the series in seven games.
In an April 23, 2022 game between the Ducks and Kings, Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks received a lengthy ovation from the fans of his team’s biggest rivals during the first period of his penultimate NHL game. This moment illustrated the mutual respect between both teams and their fan bases, despite their intense rivalry on the ice.
San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks are one of the most significant rivals to the Los Angeles Kings, both competing in the same division of the National Hockey League (NHL) since the Sharks began to play in the 1991-92 season. Their proximity and competitiveness have given rise to fierce battles on the ice, earning this rivalry a special place in the hearts of fans on both sides.
Battle of California
As two teams from California, the Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks face off in what is often referred to as the “Battle of California.” This intense rivalry between Southern and Northern California teams has transcended beyond hockey, contributing to the overall narrative of sports rivalries in the state. Both the Kings and Sharks have witnessed moments of triumph and heartbreak against each other, making their meetings and showdowns a must-watch for fans of both franchises.
Memorable Playoff Series
The Kings and Sharks have a history of memorable playoff series that have contributed to the intensity of the rivalry. One significant moment in their playoff battles came in 2014, when the Kings pulled off an incredible comeback by overcoming a 3-0 series deficit to win four consecutive games and advance to the second round of the playoffs. This would later pave the way for the Kings to claim their second Stanley Cup in three years.
In 2016, the Sharks enacted their revenge, defeating the Kings in the first round of the playoffs in five games, asserting themselves as a legitimate contender in the league. The rivalry continued to burn bright in these playoff series as emotions, talent, and the desire to win were on full display.
Detroit Red Wings
Historic Playoff Rivalry
Though the Detroit Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings are not in the same division, their storied rivalry has been intense over the years, especially during the playoffs. Both teams have a rich history in the NHL and have faced each other in high-stakes situations.
In recent years, the two teams have grown a rivalry that can be considered one of the biggest non-divisional rivalries in the league. The momentum of this rivalry can be traced back to head coach Mike Babcock’s departure from Detroit and his subsequent move to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2015, which added to the tensions between the teams.
Each matchup between the Red Wings and Kings has given fans memorable moments on the ice, complete with hard-fought battles, impressive individual performances, and thrilling game-winners. These competitive games have intensified the rivalry and given fans from each team reason to hope for an eventual playoff faceoff.
St. Louis Blues
The Los Angeles Kings have had a storied rivalry with the St. Louis Blues. Historically, the Kings have a losing record against the Blues, with 85 wins, 106 losses, 22 ties, and 6 overtime losses.
The intensity between the Kings and the Blues often comes to a head during their playoff encounters. Both teams have faced off against each other in numerous high-stakes games, where their fierce competition has been on full display.
One of the most memorable playoff series between the two teams occurred when the Kings and the Blues were matched in the first round of the playoffs, creating a heated atmosphere for both teams and their fanbases.
Throughout their history, the Los Angeles Kings and the St. Louis Blues have engaged in several hard-fought battles on the ice, contributing to the overall competitiveness of their rivalry.
Seeing Stars in the Regular Season
When not vying for the playoffs, the Kings and the Blues continue their rivalry during the regular season. As of March 4, 2023, the teams have faced each other 220 times in regular-season games, adding more fuel to their ongoing competition.
In these matchups, the Kings often find themselves trailing on the scoreboard, with the Blues outscoring them 683-629 in their regular-season meetings.
Regardless of their performance in the regular season, the rivalry between the Los Angeles Kings and the St. Louis Blues remains an intense, well-documented aspect of their respective franchises.
The Vancouver Canucks have been one of the key rivals of the Los Angeles Kings over the years. This rivalry has been shaped by numerous regular-season and postseason encounters, making for some exciting and memorable moments in the history of both franchises.
Regular Season Antics
Throughout their history, the Kings and Canucks have faced each other in several intense regular-season matches. These games have featured their share of physical play, highlight-reel goals, and memorable moments.
As per the search results, they have faced each other in 212 fights. This indicates the intensity of their rivalry and the willingness of the players to stand up for their teammates in these emotionally charged games.
Aside from their regular-season showdowns, the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks have also met in high-stakes postseason matchups, further fueling their rivalry. These playoff encounters have often come with high stakes and significant implications for both franchises.
In these postseason series, both the Kings and Canucks have had the opportunity to showcase their strength, resilience, and talent as they battled for supremacy in their quest for the Stanley Cup. These thrilling playoff battles have only added to the storied rivalry between the two teams and have left a lasting impression on their respective fan bases.
The Los Angeles Kings have established several notable rivalries throughout their history in the NHL. Among their biggest rivals are the Anaheim Ducks, the San Jose Sharks, and the Vegas Golden Knights. These rivalries stem from a combination of geographic proximity, divisional competition, and playoff history.
The Freeway Face-Off, an intense rivalry between the Kings and the Ducks, showcases the competitive nature of these two Southern California teams as fans from both sides passionately support their favorite hockey club. The rivalry against the Sharks can be attributed to being in the same division and their playoff clashes, while the emergence of the Vegas Golden Knights as a new regional powerhouse has also brought a fresh rivalry to the Kings.
In conclusion, the Los Angeles Kings’ rivalries contribute to the excitement and intensity of the NHL, fostering a competitive atmosphere and a sense of pride among fans. As the league continues to evolve, these rivalries are likely to develop, giving hockey enthusiasts even more reasons to remain invested in the sport.
James is a big time NBA Golden State follower, who makes sure to catch games when he's in the area. He likes to follow International Soccer, with an interest in small town soccer club, Blackburn Rovers located in the North on the UK.