Hockey is practically here. The World Cup of Hockey is a distant memory and preseason games don’t count. Shortly the talking stops and the games begin. That also means it’s time for the last in our series of schedule previews. Today we’ll be looking at the the road trips that the teams in the Pacific division will be facing. As always we’ll start alphabetically:
The Ducks’ performances on the road have dipped over the last few seasons, and that might not improve with the season opener that this team has to contend with. The Ducks start the season with a five game road trip to Dallas, Pittsburgh, the New York Islanders, New Jersey and Philadelphia. Bringing home serious points will be tricky. After that the Ducks get to spend more time at home, including a six game home stand. Mid December brings a difficult six game road trip to take on Dallas and five Atlantic division foes. Anaheim must face off against Boston, Detroit, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. Not an easy ask. February sees another mighty six gamer with Anaheim playing both Florida teams, the New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres, Carl’s Washington Capitals and finally the Minnesota Wild.
The 2013-14 Stanley Cup champions have fallen on tough times recently, although this season’s schedule will certainly go far to helping the team back to playoffs. The Kings don’t have a serious road trip until November, which sees the team take on Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Colorado. The Kings travel well and last season had the league’s 10th best road win percentage of .551. December brings a hefty nine game road trip which has the early potential to be a stumbling block in the Kings’ path to the playoffs. LA will face Buffalo, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Boston, Columbus, Nashville, Dallas, Vancouver and Edmonton in a 16 day tour. January’s five gamer to take on the New York teams, New Jersey, Carolina and Arizona may salvage some points, but February brings four game trip to Philadelphia, Washington, Tampa Bay and Florida. That’s a tricky little group to play against. What’s left of the season calms down with the team mostly at home.
San Jose Sharks
The jury is still out on whether or not the Sharks have enough in tank to make it to successive Stanley Cup finals. The team’s playoff spot is pretty much guaranteed by virtue of being in the Pacific division. October and November both bring challenging road trips for the Sharks; October has a five game trip taking in the Blue Jackets, Rangers, Islanders, Penguins and Red Wings. November’s six gamer has the Sharks playing the Capitals, Panthers, Lightning, Hurricanes, Blues and Coyotes. That shouldn’t put up too much of a challenge for the team that had the best road win percentage last season with .697. Apart from a few four gamers, the rest of the season is much more sensible.