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 kick off the month of November at Phoenix on Monday, Nov. 2, the Kings third meeting with the Coyotes of the season.
The Kings best November took place in 1988, posting a 10-4-0 mark for 20 points.
The Kings then return home for a mini two-game homestand hosting the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Nov. 5 and the Nashville Predators on Nov. 7.
The Kings went 0-1-0 vs. Pittsburgh last season, a 4-1 loss on March 20. Click here to look at the Kings-Penguins Series History.
The Pens, led by former Kings forward Dan Bylsma, who took over as head coach on Feb. 15, 2009 and led Pittsburgh to an amazing 18-3-4 record as the Pens rebounded from a tough start to finish the season with 45-28-9 mark for 99 and a fourth-place finish in the East. Pittsburgh then beat Philadelphia, Washington and Carolina to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, defeating the Red Wings in an epic seven-game series.
The Kings fleeced Pittsburgh of their shutdown defenseman Rob Scuderi and this will mark the first game in which he faces the team that drafted him in the 5th round, 134th overall, in 1998 . The Pens have signed forward Mike Rupp up front and defenseman Jay McKee, as they attempt to replace departed defensemen Scuderi and Hal Gill.
That Saturday, the Kings host the Nashville Predators, who finished 40-34-8 for 88 points, three points out of the playoffs, being the only Central Division team to miss the post season dance. Click here for the Kings-Predators Series History.
The Kings went 0-3-1 vs. the Predators last season, only earning points in the teams last meeting a 4-3 OT loss on March 28, 2009. The Predators bring back the same roster from a year ago, but will have a full season with Steve Sullivan, who returned for 41 games in 2008-09 after missing nearly half of the 2006-07 season, all of the 2007-08 season and the first half of last season, due to a severe back injury. The Preds will also boast a full season of big goaltender Pekka Rinne, who took over as Nashville’s No. 1 in early November and won 29 games and was a finalist for the Calder Trophy.
The Kings then embark on a five-game road trip through Chicago, Carolina, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Florida. The Kings have had 52 five-game road trips, unfortunately posting an 0-5-0 mark six times in their history, but not since 1995-96. The Kings have also gone a franchise-best 4-1-0 on three five-game trips, including last season, going 4-1-0 from Jan. 31-Feb. 10 through Montreal (4-3 L), Ottawa (1-0 W), Washington (5-4 W), New Jersey (3-1 W) and the NY Islanders (4-3 SO W).
The Kings open the trek at Chicago, after going 2-2-0 vs. the Blackhawks in 2008-09, a team that lost to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals after a renaissance season that saw the Blackhawks post a 46-24-12 mark for 104 points. Click here for the Kings-Blackhawks History.
The Blackhawks have recently changed out their GM (Stan Bowman in, Dale Tallon "reassigned") and of course, replaced Martin Havlat with 12 years of Marian Hossa.
The Kings then travel to Carolina, the second half of their "conference finals runner-up tour," facing the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes took a 45-30-7 record for 97 points to lock up the sixth spot in the conference, took a miracle run through Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils, then beat the East’s top squad the Boston Bruins before running into the buzz saw that was the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Canes kept Eric Cole and have added former King Tom Kostopoulos for some grit and toughness. The Kings went 1-0-0 vs. Carolina this past season, a 4-3 overtime win for the Kings on Oct. 17. Click here for the Kings-Canes Series History.
The Kings then will have a back-to-back at Atlanta and Tampa Bay on Nov. 13 and 14. The Kings have only one regulation loss vs. the Thrashers ever, earning points in 10-of-11 meetings with the Thrashers (7-1-3). Click here for the Kings-Thrashers Series History.
The Thrashers have made some changes from 2008-09, signing Nik Antropov and trading for Pavel Kubina.
The next night, the Kings will play at Tampa Bay vs. the Lightning. (Click here for Series History.) The Kings went 0-1-0 vs. the Lightning, losing 3-1 on Jan. 13, a game in which the No. 2 pick of the 2008 NHL Entry Drew Doughty left early after a hit by Evgeny Artyukhin, as the No. 1 pick Steve Stamkos came away with the win in the first meeting between the top-two picks in 2008. Tampa Bay had a tough season a year ago, firing former Kings coach Barry Melrose early in the season as the Lightning struggled to a 24-40-18 missing the playoffs.
The Lightning shored up one of their weaknesses in adding defenseman Mattias Ohlund and will also possibly have big blue liner Victor Hedman, the second overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft to help shore up the defense.
The road trip concludes at Florida, a team that just missed the playoffs a year ago, finishing with a 41-30-11 for 93 points, which tied them with the Montreal Canadiens for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Panthers have added goaltender Scott Clemmensen and defenseman Jordan Leopold in an attempt to replace d-man Jay Bouwmeester, who was traded to Calgary. Check out
the Kings-Panthers Series History.
The Kings beat the Panthers, 3-2 on Nov. 6 of last season.
The Kings then return home for another quick two-game homestand hosting the Flyers on Nov. 18 and Nov. 21 vs. Calgary. The Kings and Flyers split two games in 2008-09, a 2-1 shootout win on Jan. 3 and a 2-0 loss on Feb. 25 at Philadelphia. Click here
for the Kings-Flyers Series History.
The Flyers finished with a 44-27-11 mark in 2008-09 and lost four games to two to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and have added big defenseman Chris Pronger, goaltender Ray Emery and former King forward Ian Laperriere to the roster.
The Flames finished last season 46-30-6 and lost in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in six games to the Blackhawks. The Flames have parted ways with former King Mike Cammalleri and his 39 goals, but have gained the services of Bouwmeester, which should strengthen an already stout defense.
Los Angeles will then head up to Canada for a quick road swing on back-to-back nights through Edmonton and Vancouver on Nov. 25 and Nov. 26.
Edmonton went 38-35-6 a year ago and finished six points out of a playoff spot. Former Kings Patrick O’Sullivan and Lubomir Visnovsky, should have full seasons with their new clubs and are joined by the free agent acquisition of Nikolai Khabibuilin, the only significant change on the Oilers' roster.
Last year, the Kings went 2-0-2 vs. the Oilers, the first time the Kings earned points in every game against the Oilers since 1998-99 (3-0-1). Click here for the Oilers-Kings series history.
The Kings then close out November with a home game against the Blackhawks on Nov. 28.
Continue to December