Freeway Face-Off

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Freeway Face-Off
First meeting December 2, 1993
(Great Western Forum)
Latest meeting March 18, 2015
(Honda Center)
Next meeting January 17, 2016
(Honda Center)
Meetings total 129
All-time series 60–45–11–13 (ANA)
Regular season 57–41–11–13 (ANA)
Postseason results 4–3 (LAK)
Current streak ANA W3
Post-season history

The Freeway Face-Off is a series of ice hockey games played between the National Hockey League (NHL)'s Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. The series takes its name from the massive freeway system in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, the home of both teams; one could travel from one team's arena to the other simply by traveling along Interstate 5. The term is akin to the Freeway Series, which refers to meetings between the Los Angeles metropolitan area's Major League Baseball teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.[1]


The Kings and Ducks are rivals due to geographic proximity. The two teams are situated in the same metropolitan area and share a television market. The rivalry started with the Ducks' inaugural season in 1993–94 and has since continued.

The Kings' first appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals came in 1993. They have reached the Stanley Cup playoffs 26 times in franchise history (seven appearance since the Ducks joined the NHL), most recently their appearance and victory in the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals. The Ducks have made the playoffs ten times in franchise history, also reaching the Stanley Cup Finals twice: in 2003 and winning in 2007. The Kings and the Ducks did not meet in the playoffs until the 2014 Western Conference Semifinals.

For regular and pre-season games, Kings fans have typically attended away games at the Ducks' home ice, Honda Center, in high numbers. Ducks fans have done the same for away games at the Kings' home ice, Staples Center. Games between the two teams are often very physical, typically including multiple fights and penalties. The rivalry was showcased for the NHL premiere in London at the start of the 2007–08 season with two games between the teams. It was also showcased as part of a 2014 NHL Stadium Series match at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, where Anaheim reigned victorious in a 3–0 shutout.

The rivalry was further heated during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, which was hosted by the Kings at Staples Center. When the Ducks took the stage to announce Cam Fowler as their first-round, 12th overall pick, the audience predominantly consisting of Kings fans, let out boos.[2]

Prior to 2007, there was no official name for the regular season meetings between the Ducks and Kings. The "Freeway Face-off" name was chosen by a poll of 12,000 local hockey fans. Other names being considered were "Freeze-way Series" and "Ice-5 Series." [3]

Common players[edit]

Several players have played for both teams, including: (boldface indicates Stanley Cup win with both teams)

The series[edit]

Regular season results[edit]

Year Series Winner Ducks W Kings W Tie Notes
1993–94 Kings 2 4 0 Both teams did not qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs
1994–95 Ducks 2 1 2 Both teams did not qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs
Regular season reduced to 48 games because of 1994–95 NHL lockout
1995–96 Kings 2 3 1 All California-based teams (including the San Jose Sharks) did not qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs
1996–97 Ducks 3 1 1
1997–98 Kings 1 3 1
1998–99 Ducks 5 1 0 Kings' final season at The Forum
1999–2000 Tie 2 2 2 Kings' first season at Staples Center
2000–01 Tie 2 2 1
2001–02 Kings 0 4 1
2002–03 Tie 2 2 1 Mighty Ducks were the eventual Western Conference champions
2003–04 Kings 1 4 1 Last time that both teams did not qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs
2005–06 Ducks 5 3 First year in the current points format (no more ties)
2006–07 Tie 4 4 Ducks were the eventual Stanley Cup champions
2007–08 Ducks 6 2
2008–09 Tie 3 3
2009–10 Kings 2 4
2010–11 Ducks 4 2 All California-based teams (including the San Jose Sharks) qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs
2011–12 Kings 1 5 Kings were the eventual Stanley Cup champions
2012–13 Tie 2 2 Regular season reduced to 48 games because of 2012–13 NHL lockout
2013–14 Ducks 4 1 NHL Stadium Series game between the two teams and both clubs met in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time.
Kings were the eventual Stanley Cup champions.
2014–15 Ducks 4 1
2015–16 TBA 0 0
Overall Ducks (8–7–6) 57 54 11

Post-season results[edit]

Year Series Winner Ducks W Kings W Notes
2014 Kings 3 4 Western Conference Semifinals
Kings were the eventual Stanley Cup champions
Overall Kings (1–0) 3 4

Notable moments[edit]

Regular season[edit]

  • In the 2007–08 season, the Ducks and Kings opened the season by playing a two-game series at O2 Arena in London, England on September 29 and 30, 2007, respectively, with the former date marking the first-ever ice hockey game played at the arena. The opening faceoff was delayed as there was a lighting malfunction in the arena following the national anthems. Los Angeles won the first game by a score of 4–1 with help from then 19-year-old goaltender Jonathan Bernier and two goals from Mike Cammalleri. The Ducks split the series, however, after beating the Kings by a replica 4–1 scoreline in the second game. The second game was notable as Jonas Hiller made his NHL debut, as then-Ducks starting goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere was injured to begin the season.[4]
  • The Ducks and Kings met on March 26, 2008, at Honda Center in Anaheim for a late-season tilt. Although the Ducks and Kings were near opposites in the standings that year (the Ducks finished fifth in the West while the Kings finished 15th), both teams played to an exhausting effort, as goaltenders Jonas Hiller (Anaheim) and Erik Ersberg (Los Angeles) made game-stopping saves to help their team. The game was focused centrally on the goaltenders, as Hiller stopped 31 of 32 shots, while Ersberg 39 of 40. With the score tied 1–1 on goals from Patrick O'Sullivan (Los Angeles) and Bobby Ryan (Anaheim) through the third period, Kings forward Alexander Frolov stole the puck from a falling Mathieu Schneider at the former's blueline and skated full-speed on a breakaway with under 20 seconds remaining in regulation. Frolov faked a shot, but Hiller made a sprawling pad save, much to the applause of the 17,331 fans in attendance. The two teams then played through overtime scoreless, sending it to a shootout. Kings winger Dustin Brown scored first, but Ducks winger Teemu Selanne evened the shootout on the very next shot, evening the shootout at 1–1. The next five shooters all missed their attempts until the Ducks' Schneider scored to put the Ducks ahead 2–1. Los Angeles forward Brian Willsie was stopped by Hiller on the next shot, giving the Ducks a 2–1 shootout victory. The win gave the Ducks a playoff spot at fourth in the West, clinching a playoff berth.[5]
  • On January 8, 2009, the Ducks and Kings met for a mid-season game at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The game featured an earthquake midway through the first period, felt by some of the players and also the press writers and fans in attendance. The game was not delayed, however. Los Angeles got off to a 2–0 lead late in the first period and throughout the second on goals from Dustin Brown and Wayne Simmonds. Then-Ducks Head Coach Randy Carlyle replaced goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere in favor of Jonas Hiller shortly thereafter, but the Kings scored again on an Anze Kopitar goal to make it 3–0. The game looked one-sided in favor of the Kings until Ducks winger Bobby Ryan scored a power play goal late in the second to put the Ducks on the board. To start the third, Ryan scored again, scoring a rebound off of a Ryan Carter wristshot to cut the Kings' lead to one goal. The most notable moment of the game, however, came just about a minute later when Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf fed an open Ryan on the left wing for a scoring attempt. Ryan put on arguably one of the most dazzling moves of the season, as he skated in on an angle towards the net and put on a roller-hockey style spin move around Kings defenseman Peter Harrold. With Harrold frozen from the play, Ryan pulled the puck back on his stick and tucked it in the back of the net past a sprawling Jonathan Quick. Ryan's hat-trick set a Ducks franchise record for fastest hat-trick in team history at 2:21. The score was tied 3–3, giving the visiting Ducks momentum until Los Angeles re-gained the lead on a power play goal from Alexander Frolov. The Ducks made many last-ditch efforts to tie the game, but Jonathan Quick stonewalled the Ducks' attempts, giving the Kings a 4–3 victory over the Ducks.[6]

Post-season series[edit]

As division rivals, the Ducks and Kings could theoretically meet in either the first or second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. They could also meet in the conference finals, provided that either or both teams qualify for wild card spots. However, neither team can meet in the Stanley Cup Finals. This differs from the similar Freeway Series between MLB's Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Los Angeles Dodgers, who are in separate conferences (the American League and National League, respectively), so they can only meet in the final round of the MLB post-season, the World Series.

The Ducks and the Kings met in the playoffs for the first time 2014 in the Western Conference Semifinals. Anaheim held home ice advantage as a result of winning the Western Conference title. The series began on May 3 at the Honda Center and ended on May 16.[1][2][3]

Fan reaction[edit]

While the Freeway Face-off is not as renowned as other NHL rivalries, Western Conference hockey fans know the rivalry to be intense. The Kings were the first NHL team in Southern California, brought in by the six-team expansion of 1967–68. The Kings' success of the late 1980s and early 1990s, largely due to the arrival of Wayne Gretzky in 1988, helped spike interest in hockey in Los Angeles, also spawning the growth of inline hockey in the area. The Ducks, formerly known the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, came into the League for the 1993–94 season along with the Florida Panthers. With the Kings having been in existence for 26 years before the Ducks arrived, many saw the Ducks as taking away from the Kings' fanbase and attention in the local market. The Ducks' arrival in nearby Orange County brought new fans to the Southern California hockey scene, creating rivalry between the two teams and their fans. Many Kings fans who were disillusioned with the team's troubles after their 1993 Stanley Cup Finals appearance, and later with the imprisonment of former owner Bruce McNall, became Ducks fans. However, both teams have large, loyal fanbases.

The rivalry is also known for local bragging rights, pitting big-city Los Angeles against its southern neighbor Orange County, which is more suburban. Staples Center and Honda Center are less than an hour apart via local freeways; many Kings fans fill Honda Center in great numbers, but numerous Ducks fans also make the short trip up the freeway to Staples Center as well. In recent years, crowds at both venues are quite diverse due to both teams' recent successes.

See also[edit]

Other rivalries in the Los Angeles area[edit]


  1. ^ Yoon, Peter (December 14, 2007). "No controversy, just champions". Los Angeles Times. p. D3. Now that we have the Freeway Faceoff between the Kings and Ducks to go along with the Freeway Series between the Dodgers and Angels, we need a name for this. It might be difficult to incorporate 'freeway' into it, though, since they share the same building. Maybe we could call it the 'We took the same freeway as you did to get here tipoff.' Or, 'The showdown at the intersection of the 10 and 110 freeways.' 
  2. ^ O'Brien, James (June 25, 2010). "2010 NHL Entry Draft, Round 1: Cam Fowler drops to Ducks at #12". NBC Sports. 
  3. ^ "Ducks-Kings Rivalry: Freeway Face-Off". November 13, 2007. 
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