Kings rule in London

DARREN FRIESEN, SPECIAL TO SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

LONDON, England -- Apparently fish and chips don't agree with the Anaheim Ducks. The Stanley Cup champs, who began their title defence yesterday as the NHL opened its 2007-08 season at the O2 Arena in London, were beaten 4-1 by the Los Angeles Kings in front of 17,551 singing and screaming European hockey fans.

The re-tooled Kings scored three times on the powerplay and got a solid 26-save performance from youngster Jonathan Bernier to open their campaign on a high note.

Kings coach Marc Crawford was particularly pleased with his team's first performance, but was also delighted at how the soldout London crowd embraced the NHL game.

"I thought the atmosphere was very enjoyable," said Crawford. "I tried to soak it all in -- all the different jerseys in the crowd in the different sections, the Kings fans, the Ducks fans, fans from Slovakia -- I saw a lot of them."

Forward Mike Cammalleri, who scored twice for the Kings yesterday, praised the fans for making the game so special.

"They got in to it right away," he said. "They were doing the wave and cheering just like any other North American crowd. I loved London tonight, it was good to us."

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle didn't share the same sentiment but wasn't too harsh on his charges.

"I thought we competed very hard but just didn't execute on special teams," he said.

It was hard to tell which team was the favourite yesterday as both the Kings and Ducks got plenty of cheers after scoring. Almost everyone in attendance donned a hockey jersey of some kind. From the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks, to the Bracknell Bees and Belfast Giants, just about every NHL or international franchise had some representation.

This came as no surprise to Flames fan Kyle Scriven, who along with most of the other people in attendance felt the need to boo Ducks defenceman Chris Pronger every time he touched the puck.

"There's a following here and I thought it would have come here sooner," said Scriven. "It's been long overdue. I thought the NHL would have done more publicity for this, though, because if you live here and you don't follow hockey, you'd have never known this was going on."

The two teams will play again today (5 p.m. GMT) in the home-and-home series.


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