Sports

Freeway Playoff: Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks finally meet in NHL playoffs for 1st time

  • Los Angeles Kings center Tyler Toffoli celebrates after scoring during the third period of Game 7 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, April 30, 2014. The Kings won 5-1. (AP Photo)

    Los Angeles Kings center Tyler Toffoli celebrates after scoring during the third period of Game 7 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, April 30, 2014. The Kings won 5-1. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, right, celebrates a 5-1 win over the San Jose Sharks with teammate Alec Martinez (27) during Game 7 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

    Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, right, celebrates a 5-1 win over the San Jose Sharks with teammate Alec Martinez (27) during Game 7 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)  (The Associated Press)

  • Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, second from left, celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the second period of Game 7 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, April 30, 2014. (AP Photo)

    Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, second from left, celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the second period of Game 7 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, April 30, 2014. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

Southern California is in hockey heaven.

The Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks will meet in the second round of the NHL playoffs this weekend, taking their Freeway Faceoff rivalry into the postseason for the first time.

In their 20th year of head-to-head competition for the hearts of the Southland's hockey fans, the Kings and Ducks are finally meeting in the playoffs. That's the only way to start a true rivalry between these neighbors, according to players from both teams.

Their rinks are 30 miles apart on the I-5 freeway, and both teams are eager for a series with no significant travel. That's normal for many Eastern Conference teams, but unprecedented in the West.

The high-scoring Ducks dominated the defense-first Kings in the regular season, winning four of five.