We asked our writers to rank their top stories of 2011, moments that defined the teams they cover, and affected the fans who followed them. Here, hockey writer Dan Arritt -- who followed the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks through a roller-coaster year -- makes his picks. Vote on your favorite moments in the poll at right, or add your own in the comments.
5. Teemu Selanne's 22nd career hat trick
Three months shy of his 41st birthday, Ducks winger Teemu Selanne recorded his 22nd career hat trick in a 5-4 victory against the visiting Colorado Avalanche on March 28. He also had two assists in the victory to match his career high with five points. The win was key in a late-season surge that lifted the Ducks into fourth place in the Western Conference standings, where they earned home-ice advantage in their first-round playoff series against the Nashville Predators. Among the goals Selanne scored in his first hat trick in 17 months was his second career penalty shot.
4. Corey Perry's big goal
Corey Perry recorded a hat trick and 50th goal of the season all in one swipe, lifting the Ducks to a 6-2 victory against the San Jose Sharks on April 6, the third-to-last game of the regular season. Perry joined Selanne as just the second member of the Ducks to reach the 50-goal plateau. Selanne accomplished the feat during the 1997-98 season. Perry's offensive output, which included 19 goals in the final 16 games, went a long way toward his selection last season as the Hart Trophy winner, which is annually awarded to the league's most valuable player.
3. Anze Kopitar injured
The Kings were sailing along on the afternoon of March 26, holding a 2-0 lead against the visiting Avalanche and sitting comfortably in fifth place in the Western Conference standings with eight regular-season games remaining. Anze Kopitar, the team's leading scorer, went into a corner to battle for the puck with Colorado defenseman Ryan O'Byrne, lost his balance and fell awkwardly to the ice, suffering a broken right ankle that would end his season. The Kings would go on to lose four of their final seven games and drop to seventh in the standings. They followed up by losing their first-round playoff series to San Jose in six games.
2. Kings trade for Mike Richards
The Kings made the biggest move of the offseason, trading for Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards on June 23. Richards is the type of elite forward the Kings had been looking for to compliment Kopitar. He immediately made an impact, scoring the tying goal with five minutes left in the season opener against the New York Rangers and assisting on the game winner in overtime. Despite missing the past four games with a possible concussion, Richards still leads the Kings with 11 goals. The team is 11-2-2 when he scores at least one point, 2-6-2 when he does not and 0-4 when he's not in the lineup.
1. Changing of the guards
This season began on positive notes for the Kings and Ducks. Not only were they both coming off playoff appearances in the same season for the first time, but they were a combined 9-2-1 in their first 12 games. Then the bottom fell out. The Kings lost seven of their next nine and the Ducks were even worse, losing 14 of their next 16. Ducks coach Randy Carlyle was fired on Nov. 30 and Kings coach Terry Murray was let go 12 days latrer. The Ducks have continued to find ways to lose, dropping seven of nine under coach Bruce Boudreau. The Kings are still struggling to score, producing just five goals in four games under interim coach John Stevens.
Dan Arritt covers hockey for ESPNLosAngeles.com.