Although they’ve only played seven games away from Staples since, the Los Angeles Kings have not lost a regulation game on the road since their 8-2 beating at the hands of the Red Wings back on December 17. Of their 50 games thus far, the Kings aren’t as used to being on the road having only played 21 outside of Los Angeles. That’s all about to change for February.
After opening the month at home against Columbus, the Kings will play 10 of their 13 February games on the road, including six straight before returning home for a two-game stint on the 16th. Out of those 21 games away from Staples, the Kings have collected points in 16 of them as they boast a road record of 10-5-6 which, overall, looks better than their home record of 14-11-4.
February will certainly be a different month for Los Angeles as they only had three road games in January where they went 2-0-1 on visits to Calgary, Edmonton and always-friendly Vancouver where they had strong showings in former and the latter but looked sluggish against the Oilers. Being that four of their six opponents are Eastern Conference clubs, the Kings will need to shake off any jetlag or fatigue from the time difference they might have and focus on each team as equally as the last as with the all-star weekend now behind us, it’s time to fully focus on the playoff run.
Aside from the amount of games played, there isn’t a ton of difference between the Kings at home and the Kings on the road. At Staples, the Kings have averaged 2.137 goals per game this season. Away from home, they averaged 2.142 goals. It’s a slight improvement but in the smallest of fractions. Essentially, the Kings aren’t blessed or cursed with goal production once they leave Los Angeles.
One plus the Kings have on the road may be on the man-advantage. At home, the Kings have 15 power-play goals 29 games. In 21 games on the road, they have just one fewer.
Despite so many similarities, the consensus seems to be that the Kings just play better when they’re on the road and, if that’s really the case, then expect it to be a very successful February. If it isn’t, well, we can at least be thankful that it’s the shortest month of the year.
If you’re wondering why the Kings have so many road games this month, it’s because the Grammy Awards will be at the Staples Center again and I guess they need all that time to get ready for the event. Hey, if it’s any consolation, the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers have to take their respective acts on the road as well. With that said, as much as I want to blame the NBA, I don’t have a leg to stand on in this instance.
Overall, it’s a win-win situation: if the Kings have a great February, then we’ll be rejoicing as we prepare for a playoff run we’ve been waiting on for 12 months. Conversely, if the Kings have a not-so-great February, I’ll be throwing empty Pepsi cans and rubber chickens at the TV whenever I see Drake on there. Come to think of it, I’ll be doing just that should the Kings be unstoppable this month. It’s okay – I had plenty of practice during the intermissions of Sunday’s All-Star Game.
DISCLAIMER: Despite the title, the Los Angeles Kings are in no way affiliated with professional wrestling’s version of the ‘Road Warriors.’ Then again, don’t hold me to that. Although Michael Hegstrand (aka Hawk) has passed, Joseph Laurinaitis (aka Animal) may be a Kings fan. Hey, you never know!
Photo: Courtesy of Frank Polich/Reuters