by Dan Adkisson
Back in 2017, the Los Angeles Kings celebrated its semi-centennial alongside other 1967 expansion teams, the St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers. During the Kings’ tenure, they’ve become an ingrained part of the sports culture in Los Angeles. Though Disney attempted to boost the profile of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim with their successful family film, hockey fans in the city have stuck by their original squad, even if the going was slow at times.
Today, the team is seeing a resurgence in popularity, thanks to the availability of betting lines. With FanDuel’s free bet offer on the table, along with dozens of other welcome deals, hockey fans can easily find lines on the Kings. And with two Stanley Cup wins already on the books, things are looking up for fans.
But if you want to join the bandwagon, then you’ll need to learn a bit about the Kings. Let’s start with an important part of fan culture by breaking down some of the Kings most intense rivalries.
The Fiery Feud: San Jose Sharks
Every Kings fan knows there’s one name at the top of their hit list: the San Jose Sharks. Tensions arise from a variety of factors, including a NorCal-SoCal rivalry, being in the same division, and the fact that both teams regularly battle it out on their official Twitter pages. In other words, it’s a fire that everyone loves to throw fuel on.
And for good reason.
Back in 2011, the Sharks eliminated the Kings from the playoffs in what was supposed to be the team’s first Stanley Cup run. The Kings made good on this loss in 2013 and then again in 2014, when they defeated the Sharks in a best-of-seven series on their way to a second Cup. Fans are on standby, waiting for another explosive playoff matchup against the Sharks in the future.
Cross-town Rivals: Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks are part of a crosstown rivalry with the Kings. And while the Kings took home a decisive 6-2 win in Game 7 of the 2014 playoff series, the teams have otherwise entertained a tamer rivalry as part of the ‘Freeway Face-off’.
Still, that doesn’t mean Kings-Ducks faceoffs have been boring. In the 2014 series, the seven-game series saw a total of 17.4 penalties per game, compared to a regular season average of 4.7 penalties per game. That means there is added physicality — which is certainly an expected feature of any game played between the two SoCal based clubs.
A Remnant of the 2010s: Chicago Blackhawks
The Kings were a force to be reckoned with in the early 2000s and later in the 2010s. During that latter time, one of their greatest rivals became the Chicago Blackhawks — the other Stanley Cup contender during the era. In 2012 and 2014, the Kings took home the Stanley Cup, while the Blackhawks lifted the trophy in 2010, 2013, and 2014. Only the Bruins got between the Kings and Blackhawks during this time, winning the Stanley Cup in 2011.
The Kings-Blackhawks rivalry falls back to their playoff meetings during this time. In particular, the Kings loss in seven games during the 2013 Western Conference Finals left many fans with a burning hatred for Chicago — one that apparently hasn’t quite worn off. During the series, players spent a total of 74 minutes in the penalty box, making it one of the most physical contests of that season.
A Look at the Numbers: Canucks & Oilers
Speaking of physical contests, it’s worthwhile to look at the numbers when it comes to picking a rival. As outlined in the Ducks and Blackhawks sections, a good way to gauge the intensity of a rivalry is to look at the stats on penalty minutes and the number of penalties. Another solid metric is the number of fights.
During the 2022-23 regular season, Kings players have fought eight times total. One, unsurprisingly, was against the Blackhawks. But three, not so surprisingly, came from Edmonton Oilers’ faceoffs. Last year, the Detroit Red Wings received the brunt of the Kings anger with two fights; perhaps some leftover hatred from their rivalry in the early 2000s when they met up a few times in the playoffs.