Sports

A local derby: Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks take familiarity into 1st playoff meeting

Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, top, 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, top, 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)

A few Los Angeles Kings skated with a handful of Anaheim Ducks during the recent NHL lockout. The players see each other at various night spots around town, and they face off a few times in every regular season.

They'll finally meet in the NHL playoffs when the puck drops on their second-round series Saturday night.

A playoff series 20 years in the making is also a fitting highlight to a memorable hockey season in Southern California, where the wintry game is proliferating at the youth level thanks largely to the impact of its two pro teams.

The Kings and Ducks have never been this good at the same time.

Los Angeles has won seven playoff series in the last three years. Anaheim has won two straight Pacific Division titles.