California now the golden state of hockey

Sharks winger T.J. Galiardi (21) hits Kings defenceman Matt Greene into the Sharks bench as Logan...

Sharks winger T.J. Galiardi (21) hits Kings defenceman Matt Greene into the Sharks bench as Logan Couture (39) reacts during Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal series in Los Angeles, May 23, 2013. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:44 PM ET

LOS ANGELES - Maybe it's all that Vitamin D.

For the eighth time in the past 10 seasons, there will be a California-based franchise in the NHL's Western Conference final.

Tuesday's late clash between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks settled exactly which squad from the Golden State would move on.

“I think hockey in this state has gone through the roof the past handful of years, the past decade,” said Kings winger Justin Williams after Tuesday's morning skate at the Staples Center.

The Kings, of course, contributed to the popularity of puck in southern California with their championship run last spring, the second Stanley Cup parade in this sunny state in the span of six seasons.

The Anaheim Ducks celebrated a title in 2007, finally getting their hands on the shiny silverware after losing in the league final in 2003 and being ousted in the conference finals in '06.


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