"One of our goals was coming out hard in the first period," said Kings star blueliner Drew Doughty. "We even said before the game, 'Everyone is talking about this Gibson, let's see [ Jonas] Hiller tonight.' We managed to do that and that was one of our goals."
Indeed, a soul-crushing loss for a Ducks team that finished 16 points ahead of the Kings in the standings but, for the second year in a row, lost a Game 7 at home to end its season.
"We've got a few months to figure it out. We'll get over it," said Boudreau. "You have to get over it. Secondly, when the time for training camp comes around, you're just excited to be playing hockey again and you want to try to make amends for the last game. Right now, it's a bitter pill to swallow, the way we lost that game. But we're going to get over it.
"First period was men against boys, quite frankly. They were bigger, stronger, faster and seemed more determined. We were on our heels. Everything we said we didn't want to do, we did. We get behind the eight ball and all of a sudden we get mad, whether it's against the officials. By the time we started playing well again in the second, Quick was there to make the save when they needed it."
Added Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf: "They're a great hockey team. I've got a lot of respect for the other guys in that room. They came out and they beat us tonight."
There is so much to like about this Ducks team, too, moving forward; from Gibson to Devante Smith-Pelly, Sami Vatanen, Lindholm, Cam Fowler, Jakob Silfverberg, Rickard Rakell, Emerson Etem and others in the system, Anaheim is going to be around for years to come.
But on this night, it was goodbye to a wondrous legend in Teemu Selanne, playing in his final career game, and certainly not the way he was hoping to end things.
"It's going to be tough waking up tomorrow morning and realizing it's all over," said Selanne. "But I want to look at the big picture and enjoy this game, my teammates, the fans and the organization. Not even in my wildest dreams did I expect to have a career like this. I'm very thankful."
Few players have more gracefully taken the ice in NHL arenas over the past 21 years than the great Teemu. He will be incredibly missed, not just for his prowess on the ice but for a smile that could light up a room off of it.
The Kings players showed their respect toward Selanne not just in the handshake line but also by sticking around afterward before leaving the ice and saluting the Finnish Flash by tapping their sticks on the ice.
"There's not many guys left in this league that have earned the respect and admiration of not only the fans, but the players he played against," said the Kings' Williams. "We would have stood out there for 20 minutes if we could. If that is his last game ... he has nothing to be upset about. He was an awesome player."
"I really don't have an answer for you," Koivu said afterward. "Get away from the game for a couple of weeks and really take a good, careful look. What happened. How the season went and if there is enough left to come back and push for another year."
For the Kings, the season continues. Friday's win set up a rematch of last spring's Western Conference finals when Chicago beat L.A. in five games en route to a Cup championship. Game 1 goes Sunday afternoon at the United Center, a mighty tight turnaround for the Kings.
But bring on the Hawks, a chance for the Kings to avenge last spring's series loss.
"I'm sure it's going to have a little kick to it, just because we did play them last year," said Kopitar. "I think you always get excited when you play the Stanley Cup champions."