That is why this squad from Hollywood won the Stanley Cup in the 2014-2015 Season and took Pacific Division honors by finishing in first place last year. With a young core of top players, including an outstanding net-minder, there is every reason to believe that this budding dynasty will perform well in the upcoming season.
They will have to be at their best. Contenders such as the Anaheim Ducks, the Calgary Flames and the San Jose Sharks were “nipping at the heels” of the Kings when the regular season ended in April, 2015. And those squads have improved their rosters as they all take aim at the Pacific Division’s ”Top Dog,” The Los Angeles Kings.
The Kings will play home and away games with each of the six teams in their division. Each squad faces off against a divisional foe five times. The total of thirty games played in the division are, of course, very important. The team that wins the majority of those games will almost certainly be “punching its own ticket” for postseason play.
That said, road trips are even more important in the National Hockey League. Games involve lots of contact which can wear down players which then makes them more vulnerable to injury.
An average road trip lasts about a week and can cover two, three, even four cities. That’s exhausting. The Kings first big road trip is scheduled to take place between November 17th and November 25th. It covers five cities and includes stops in Philadelphia where they will play the Flyers, Detroit where the Redwings will be waiting for them, in North Carolina and in Florida where they will visit two cities.
The schedule in December appears to be even more difficult. It features a road trip from December 8th – December 19th. The Kings will visit six cities in that short span of time and compete against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Buffalo Sabres, the Ottawa Senators, the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
A second road trip in the same month begins on December 26th and runs through December 31st. Los Angeles may still be travel-weary when they fly to Vancouver for a game with the Canucks, to Calgary for a battle against the Flames, to Edmonton where they will play the Oilers and to Arizona where they will “take the ice” against the Coyotes.
A long and very important seven game road trip in February will include stops in east coast cities, including Manhattan and Newark as well as in St. Louis, Washington and Nashville. It is sure to be a tough and demanding trip and will probably decide playoff position for the Kings.
Clearly, in the National Hockey League, the best teams get the most difficult schedule.
Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal