With the 2009-10 regular season schedule released on Wednesday, LAKings.com takes a (long) look at the slate the Kings are to play in the upcoming season.
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The Kings best mark ever in January took place in 2002, when the Kings went a franchise-best 11-3-0 mark for 22 points, the best month in Kings history. Last season, the Kings went 5-5-1 for 11 points in the opening month of the year.
Los Angeles will open 2010 hosting Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Jan. 2, and then travel up to San Jose for a match up with the Sharks on Jan. 4. The Kings will then host a 14-day, seven-game homestand hosting the Stanley Cup runners up Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 7, the St. Louis Blue on Jan. 9, the President’s Trophy winning San Jose Sharks on Jan. 11, the Anaheim Ducks on Jan. 14, the Eastern Conference Leading Boston Bruins on Jan. 15, the San Jose Sharks again on Jan. 19 and finally the Buffalo Sabres on Jan. 21. Seven of the eight opponents made the Stanley Cup Playoffs a year ago.
The Caps finished with a 50-24-8 record for 108 points, good for second in the East. They handled the Rangers in the first round but lost in seven games to the Pens in the second round. To that squad, the Capitals have added Brendan Morrison and Mike Knuble.
The Kings went 2-0-0 vs. the Capitals last season, wining at home and on the road. Click here for the Kings-Capitals Series History.
All totaled, the Kings will spend the first 21 days of the month in California.
The Kings longest homestand ever was nine games in 1973-74 (7-0-2). The Kings have had four homestands of eight games and this will mark the Kings 11th seven-game homestand. The first took place in 1969-70, going 2-3-2, which is tied for the worst mark for a homestand that long. The Kings best record took place in 1974-75, going 5-1-1. The Kings last season had a homestand of the same length, going 3-2-2.
On Jan. 16, the Kings host the Boston Bruins, who finished with a 53-19-10 mark for 116 points, losing in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Burins lost to Knuble from their lineup, but did re-sign Mark Recchi for one last attempt at the Cup. The Bruins will play earlier in the month in the Winter Classic on New Year's Day in an outdoor game vs. the Philadelphia Flyers at beautiful Fenway Park.
The Kings conclude their homestand with the Buffalo Sabres, one of two teams the Kings play during the month that did not contend for the playoffs in 2008-09 (Toronto is the other).
The Sabres finished with a 41-32-9 mark for 91 points and four points out of the playoffs. The Kings and Sabres met with Los Angeles suffering one of their worst losses of the season, a 5-0 loss on Dec. 19. The Sabres roster has remained much intact.
The Kings conclude the strange month then with a five-game road trip, which opens at Detroit on Jan. 23. Los Angeles then faces Brian Burke and the rebuilding Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 26. The Leafs, who finished 34-35-13 for 81 points, have added the Monster in net, Jonas Gustavsson, on defense big-hitting Michal Komisarek and Francois Beauchemin and tough guy Colton Orr. The Kings went 0-1-0 vs. Toronto last season. Click here for the Kings-Maple Leafs Series.
The Kings play at Columbus on Dec. 28 and will conclude the month with a back-to-back at Boston and New Jersey on Dec. 30 and 31.
The Devils, after a 51-27-4 mark, was shocked in the first round of the playoffs by the Carolina Hurricanes. This off-season, they lost backup net minder Clemmenson and replaced him with Yann Danis, lost forwards Brian Gionta and Rupp but gained behind the bench with the return of Jacques Lemaire.
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