Ducks Win But Kings Honor Blake

By Steven Lieberman

Observer Reporter

The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks met for the third time this season in the always much-anticipated “Freeway” rivalry at Staples Center on Saturday.

But before the game, another much-anticipated ceremony took place. 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Rob Blake, former great Kings defenseman and current assistant general manager, had his #4 jersey retired and raised to the rafters, joining Vachon, Robitaille, Dionne, Taylor, and Gretzky.

Originally drafted by the Kings in 1988, here are some of the highlights of Blake’s storied 20-year career – appeared in the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals, winning the James Norris Memorial Trophy and serving as the team captain for five seasons in his initial 11-season stint with the club; won a Stanley Cup as a member of the Colorado Avalanche in 2001; was a six-time All-Star; and helped team Canada win a gold medal in 2002, among many other great achievements.

When Blake was asked in the press conference after the first period which current NHL player he thought reminded him of the way he played, he said Kings standout Drew Doughty.

All the current Kings players were sitting on the bench during the ceremony, so they all might have caught the post-ceremony fever, losing to the Ducks, who hold the best record (30-10-6) in the NHL, in a shootout, 3-2.

Jakob Silfverberg’s snap-shot got by Kings net-minder Jonathan Quick to seal-the-deal. It was his NHL-leading seventh shootout goal and he is 7-for-11 in attempts this season.

"I've been taking a lot of shootouts this year so far and been lucky enough to put a lot of them in," Silfverberg said. "It's a lot about confidence going in there, and I feel like I have the confidence with me now and I have the confidence from [coach] Bruce [Boudreau]."

"He's got a great release," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "There's not a lot of guys who can shoot the puck like that off his stride. He reminds me a lot of [Joffrey] Lupul when he was here."

The Ducks are 2-0-1 against the Kings this season with two shootouts and an overtime game. Kings coach Darryl Sutter half-joked that he "just can't pick the right guys" because the Kings are 1-7 in shootouts. He then assessed the difference against their rival.

"They are scoring the big goal for sure, and we're probably really close in those percentage points and goals against," Sutter said. "But we have to continue to work at that. That has to be the foundation of our game. I thought Jonathan (Quick) was our best player tonight, and it was good to see."

It also didn’t help the Kings efforts to have right-winger Corey Perry back in the lineup for the Ducks after being on the injured list. He had an assist on Ryan Getzlaf’s goal in the second period. Perry helped the Ducks win their only Stanley Cup in 2007.

Sami Vatanen scored the other goal for the Ducks in the third period while Alec Martinez and Anze Kopitar got the two goals for the Kings in the second. Kopitar’s was on the power play.

Even though the Kings lost the contest, the organization came out a winner because on that night former Kings great Blake was recognized for all his accomplishments. And that also lifted the standing-room only fans spirits to the rafters too.


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