The NHL’s ’15-’16 regular season schedule was announced yesterday, and on the seventh day of October, game number one of 1,230 regular season games will be played. On Saturday, April 9th, the season will conclude with all 30 teams in action and likely deciding the final few playoff spots.
Between those two dates the L.A. Kings will play their own 82 game schedule, which can be found here. Although the Kings don’t have any marquee events like the Stadium Series or the Winter Classic on their schedule this season, there are plenty of things to digest and to which we can look forward. Here are three things that stand out when looking at the Kings’ schedule:
1. Opportunity For A Fast Start
The Kings have an opportunity to get off to a quick start once the puck drops on the ’15-’16 regular season. Over the course of the Kings’ first 15 games, nine of those games will be against teams that failed to make the playoffs last season.
Games against the San Jose Sharks, Phoenix Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers in the opening weeks of the season could prove to be a great opportunity for the Kings to rack up some points in the standings. Wins against the teams mentioned and stealing a game against some of the stiffer competition could have the Kings grabbing ten wins in their first 11-15 games of the season.
Last season the Kings jumped out to a respectable 8-4-3 record after their first 15 games. However, the Kings dropped games to San Jose and Carolina in regulation and Philadelphia in extra time. All three of those teams went on to miss the playoffs. Those five extra points could have pushed the Kings into the postseason; instead they hit the golf course for an early tee-time. The Kings need to jump on the chance for early points and close out winnable games once next season starts.
2. Hitting The Road
The Kings will spend plenty of time away from Staples Center during the months of December and February. The Kings will hit the road for 10 of their 14 games during the final month of the 2015 calendar year. The ten road games are split into two trips, the first, a six-game trip through the Eastern Conference with visits to Columbus, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. A brief visit home for a game against San Jose brings the Kings back to Southern California before they end 2015 with a four-game road trip through the Pacific Division against Arizona, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary.
A prolonged trip during the month of February is nothing new for the Kings. Staples Center has played host to the Grammy Awards since 2004 and this year will be no different. The annual awards show will take place on Monday, February 16th but will force the Kings out of the Staples Center for over two weeks. The Kings will play seven games over a 12-day span while on the road due to the awards show. Outside of the Grammy road trip, the Kings will play on the road two more times, for a total of 9 of their 13 February games, away from Staples Center.
Between December and February the Kings will play 19 of their 41 total road games. That’s 46% of their road games in just two months, a respectable road record during those two months could set the Kings up for success.
3. Back-To-Backs A Plenty
The Kings have plenty of back-to-back situations this season. The Kings will find themselves playing in pairs a total of 13 times. That’s 26 of their 82 games being played on back-to-back nights; nine of those sets are solely on the road, one pair is solely at home and the remaining three are split between a road and home game.
This is not the most ideal situation for the Kings who have not fared too well in back-to-back situations in the past. The Kings went 4-8-4 in back-to-back games last seasons, a stat that likely played a major role in missing the playoffs.
Which games are you circling on your calendar? Sound off and let everyone know in the comment section below!
Eric received his BA in Journalism from California State University, Northridge. Eric has contributed to RinkRoyalty.com, Buffalowdown.com and California Rubber Magazine.