With the 2020-21 season ahead of us, we will miss seeing some long-standing matchups, as play will be restricted to within the four new divisions. Some notable streaks that will end this season include the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins (who have played every season since the Bruins entered the league in 1924), as well as the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues (who have played each other every season consecutively since 1967).
With the Los Angeles Kings being placed in the West Division, they will continue to face bitter rivals such as the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks. However, there are five historic matchup streaks for the Kings that will end this season.
The Canucks first game in the NHL was actually against LA on Oct. 9, 1970, where the visiting Kings defeated the Canucks 3-1. Since that meeting, Vancouver and Los Angeles have faced off every season, good for 285 games. The Canucks lead the series with a record of 127 wins, 126 losses, and 32 ties.
Why does losing this matchup hurt for Kings fans? Simple, the Canucks are the team the Kings have played against more than any other in their history. These teams have met five times in the playoffs, most recently in 2012 when the underdog Kings defeated the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Canucks in five games in the first round.
Last season proved these teams can produce some fireworks, as the Canucks proceeded to make a t-shirt based on Drew Doughty’s comments following an 8-2 Canucks victory over the Kings last October. They will have to wait a season before adding the next chapter to this matchup.
The Kings began playing the Flames when the former was still based in Atlanta. The two teams first met in 1972, and played one another every season during the Flames run in the Peach State. That streak continued and increased when the Flames moved to Calgary in 1980. The number of games played reached 273 as of last season, with the Flames holding the edge at 138 wins, 114 losses, and 21 ties.
This matchup has provided some tense moments for Kings fans. While these teams haven’t met in a playoff series since 1993, they battled each other for a playoff spot during the 2014-15 season. Calgary clinched their first trip to the playoffs in six years by defeating the Kings in the penultimate game of that regular season.
Another intriguing facet of this rivalry that never disappoints is the ongoing feud between Doughty and Flames star forward Matthew Tkachuk. The Flames and Kings always seem to put on a show when they meet, and that means fans of both teams will be devoid of that until next season.
The third team in Western Canada that the Kings will not play in 2020-21 after many years of doing so are the Edmonton Oilers. The Kings and Oilers first met in 1979, during the Oilers’ first season in the NHL. With 252 games played, the Oilers are on top with a record of 123 wins, 99 losses, and 30 ties.
The Oilers and Kings have many historic connections that still hang around both teams. Kings fans will know about the Miracle on Manchester, where LA overcame a 5-0 deficit to defeat the vaunted 80s Oilers squad, eventually going on to complete the upset by winning the series. The teams are also linked through the infamous trade that sent Wayne Gretzky to the Kings. The Kings are a team on the rise with their young, up and coming talent, but fans will have to wait a year to see how they stack up against Connor McDavid.
The Kings and Stars both entered the league through the famous 1967 expansion, however the Stars originally got their start as the Minnesota North Stars. The teams have played 245 games against each other, with the Stars standing at 121 wins, 92 loses, and 32 ties.
The Kings and Stars haven’t had their share of iconic moments together. Their only playoff series dates back to 1968, long before the Dallas Stars were even a thought. However, it’s still a noteworthy moment for Kings fans that these teams will not face off in 2020-21. The Kings and Stars have played each other every year since 1967. The Kings’ second-ever game was against the North Stars, which also marked the third game for the latter franchise. For the sake of history, it’s sad to see a streak that goes back 50-plus years come to an end this season.
The final team on this list are the Chicago Blackhawks. The ‘Hawks and Kings have been battling since LA’s inaugural season in 1967. Overall, 217 games have been played, with the Blackhawks leading at 106 wins, 94 losses, and 17 ties.
This matchup, until recently, was similar to the Kings’ history with the Stars. For a while, the only Chicago-LA playoff series took place in 1974. However, fans of both teams in recent years might still harbor dislike towards each other after the Kings and Blackhawks played in back to back Conference Finals in 2013 and 2014.
The Hawks won the first series, with the Kings winning the next. They both went onto win the Stanley Cup after defeating each other. While they won’t face off this season, both teams are rebuilding and may see one another come playoff time a few years from now.
While these five streaks will be ending this season, the Kings can look forward to preserving other streaks with a few of the teams in the new West Division in 2020-21. These matchups include Anaheim at 151 games since 1993, Arizona at 238 games since 1979 (when the Coyotes were still the Winnipeg Jets). The Kings will also continue to face San Jose at 182 games since 1991, and their expansion brethren St. Louis Blues, who they have faced 225 times since 1967.
Covering the Los Angeles Kings for The Hockey Writers. 22 years old from Calgary, Alberta. Currently in my final year of study in the Journalism program at Mount Royal University. I have previously covered the WHL, AJHL, and U Sports.