California dreamin' NHL style

San Jose's Logan Couture, Anaheim's Corey Perry and Los Angeles's Drew Doughty own leading roles in...

San Jose's Logan Couture, Anaheim's Corey Perry and Los Angeles's Drew Doughty own leading roles in some of the more compelling late-night TV to originate from the West Coast in a while. (Getty Images/REUTERS)

RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:09 PM ET

Start with two guys who grew up together trying to one-up each other.

Add in a star known mostly for his scoring and constant winning.

Sounds like the plot to the TV comedy Two and A Half Men before Charlie Sheen torpedoed it, right?

Well, it's actually London's contribution to the Stanley Cup chase in sunny California, which has all three of its NHL teams -- the Sharks, Kings and Ducks -- in the playoffs for the first time.

San Jose's Logan Couture, Los Angeles's Drew Doughty and Anaheim's Corey Perry own leading roles in some of the more compelling late-night TV to originate from the West Coast in a while.

Couture and Doughty are former London Junior Knights teammates and boyhood buddies. They're on centre stage in this Sharks-Kings clash.

In Game 1, Couture, the Calder Trophy candidate, dashed past defenceman Doughty's hip check and scored in San Jose's win.

"Yeah, he got me," the 2010 Norris Trophy finalist told the San Jose Mercury News. "I wish I had that one back."

The young stud King's Game 2 response? Four points to even things up heading home to Los Angeles.

The back-and-forth continues on the ice, through texts and, undoubtedly, on the golf course this summer, where one of the friends will get an early start next week.

Couture loves to tease teammate Devin Setoguchi on his well-followed Twitter account. But it likely won't be much of a vehicle to trash talk Doughty. That could be dangerous fuel right now.

"He loves to jump up in the rush," Couture said of Doughty to the L.A. Times.

He's their best D-man . . . to have two players like that who played growing up together and making it to the NHL and face other in the playoffs, it's a small world."

And made even smaller by the fact the old chums play summer pickup hockey with Ducks leader Perry, the former Knights star who has adopted London as his offseason home.

Perry led the NHL with 50 goals this year. His late-season surge increased his Hart Trophy chatter and helped the Ducks squeeze out a fourth-place finish in the Western Conference no one expected. But the 25-year-old, who has already won nearly everything hockey offers, knows the Nashville Predators are a tough out this time.

The Preds are up 2-1 in the series with Game 4 on Tennessee ice Wednesday night.

In Anaheim's lone victory, Perry was sensational. He was quiet in the two losses, though he logged a ton of ice time at the end of Game 3 trying for a late equalizer.

Goals are at a premium. Perry is shooting against one of the NHL's best goalies -- mountainous Pekka Rinne -- and though he's still skating with Ryan Getzlaf, one of the top lines in hockey isn't operating at full strength.

John Erskine, Capitals Half of Washington's D-men are former London Knights.

Brandon Prust, Rangers Perfect fit for the style New York is trying to play.

Dan Girardi, Rangers Former Knight played 32:50 in first game (OT) against Caps.

Danny Syvret, Flyers Experiencing his first NHL playoff action in Buffalo series.

Cody McCormick, Sabres Checker chipped in with a goal in Game 2.

Sergei Kostitsyn, Predators Important piece for this Nashville team.

Chris Kelly, Bruins Just one shot in first two games.

Bobby Ryan -- the third member of the big and talented Duck trio -- is serving the second of a two-game suspension for a skate stomp on Preds' Jonathan Blum.

So Perry has a couple of large problems to solve while friends Couture and Doughty try to figure out what's next in each other's bag of tricks.

It's a juicy reality TV script from California -- and, best of all, no Kardashians necessary.

E-mail ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca, or follow Ryan on Twitter.

LOGAN COUTURE

SAN JOSE SHARKS (vs. Kings)

  • 2 GP, 1 goal, 1 point, plus-1, 0 penalty minutes, 10 shots

  • Calder Trophy candidate even though he scored 4 goals in 15 playoff games last year

  • Averaged 18 minutes a game

- - -

DREW DOUGHTY

LOS ANGELES KINGS (vs. Sharks)

  • 2 GP, 2 goals, 4 points, plus-2, 4 penalty minutes, 4 shots

  • 2010 Norris Trophy finalist played over 30 minutes in the opening game of the series but down to 24:31 in Game 2 win

  • Had 3 goals and 7 points in six playoff games last year

- - -

COREY PERRY

ANAHEIM DUCKS (vs. Predators)

  • 3 games, 1 goal, 5 points, minus-2, 2 penalty minutes, 9 shots

  • Rocket Richard Trophy winner played over 25 minutes the second two games after 19:49 in the opener

  • Won Stanley Cup in 2007

- - -

OTHER NHL GUYS WITH AREA TIES

Patrick Kane, Blackhawks The reeling Hawks need last year's Cup hero to lead them back from this Ca-knuckle sandwich.

David Bolland, Blackhawks How badly do the Hawks miss their standout two-way centre? The Sedin twins sure don't.

Brian Campbell, Blackhawks One assist and minus-4 against Vancouver.

Joe Thornton, Sharks No points yet and minus-2.

John Carlson, Capitals Hard to believe he doesn't have a point yet. Four in last year's playoffs.

Dennis Wideman, Capitals Trade deadline pickup trying to get back in after right leg hematoma and compartment syndrome injury.


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