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High-stakes reunion for Dustin Penner, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry

March 19, 2011 |  1:22 pm


Left wing Dustin Penner has played against the Ducks many times since 2007, when he signed a free-agent offer sheet from the Edmonton Oilers and left Anaheim only a few weeks after he had won the Stanley Cup with linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

But Penner, who was acquired by the Kings from Edmonton on Feb. 28, anticipated feeling more charged up to face the Ducks on Saturday night than ever before. The Kings and Ducks are battling each other and a tight field for playoff spots -- the Kings began the day fifth in the West but only four points ahead of the 10th-place Ducks -- and this will be the first of three times they’ll meet before the regular season ends. They will end the season with back-to-back games at Anaheim and Los Angeles on April 8-9.

“I can’t wait for these games the last three or four weeks of the season,” said Penner, who has two goals and six points in eight games with the Kings.

“I haven’t played a game against the Ducks that will rival what’s coming up here. The games in the past when I played for the Oilers won’t be anything like the intensity of these next three against them will be.”

Perry, who was the NHL’s sixth-leading scorer through Friday’s games with a career-best 36 goals and 75 points, called Saturday’s game the Ducks' biggest of the year -- and an occasion that will be enhanced by facing Penner with so much at stake.

“Seeing him in a Kings uniform is going to be so different. You never imagined that, when he was playing for the Ducks,” Perry said after the Ducks’ morning skate Saturday.

“But he’s gone on to do things his way. He got what he wanted. He went to a contending team. You’ve got to give him a lot of credit for what he’s done in his career so far, too. It’s going to be a little different, but you always wish him all the best.”

Getzlaf, who golfs with Penner during the summer, said he expects his old linemate to be a formidable opponent Saturday.

“Penner definitely helps their team and we’ve got to pay attention to him,” Getzlaf said. “And I look forward to the challenge.”

Check back later for a more detailed look at Penner, Getzlaf and Perry and how their lives and careers have evolved since they came up through the Ducks’ minor-league system and raised the Cup together in 2007.

--Helene Elliott

Photo: Kings winger Dustin Penner in his St. Patrick's Day jersey before the game against St. Louis on Thursday night at Staples Center. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire