The Los Angeles Kings returned to the Toyota Sports Center for workouts on Friday on the eve of a four-game homestand.
“Don’t have much time to think about it,” Darryl Sutter said. “Get home in the middle of the night, reset for tomorrow, and play tomorrow.”
Saturday’s game against the Dallas Stars – and more on Sutter’s impressions of the Stars’ new uniforms later – kicks off a stretch in which the team will play eight of its next nine games at Staples Center, where they were a league-best 19-4-1 a season ago. The Kings won 15 consecutive regular season and playoff games on home ice between March 23 and June 6.
“Big part of the season. Huge part of the season,” Jarret Stoll said. “We just went through a big stretch, six-of-eight on the road, obviously, and came out of that pretty good. I think we can be happy a little bit about going 4-and-2 on the road. You want to be perfect, obviously, but I think we can hold our heads a little high about that road trip. These home games are huge. Big stretch for us to get some wins, get some points. We play the Western Conference here a lot coming up, so big points in the standings.”
Including last night’s late arrival, the Kings recently opened up a stretch in which they’ll sleep in their own beds 24 times over a 25-night span. Reading too much into the upcoming home-friendly schedule doesn’t particularly concern Darryl Sutter, however.
“We’re here for four. And then we go to Phoenix, and then play the next night back at home. I don’t really look at it too much ahead,” he said.
Reinforcing the characteristic last year in which Staples Center developed into a difficult environment for road teams is among the objectives during the upcoming homestand, which begins Saturday against a team that won twice in Los Angeles a season ago. Dallas won 5-2 and 2-0 over the Kings over a two week span in March and was one of only three teams to post regulation road wins in Downtown L.A. in 2012-13.
“We’ve only had two at home, so we definitely want to establish the home standard, or just the presence at home that we’re going to be a hard team to play against, and it’s no better time than to do it at early in the year,” Anze Kopitar said.
“With the stretch of four games at home now, it’s definitely a good time.”
The Next Nine
Saturday, October 19 – DALLAS
Monday, October 21 – CALGARY
Thursday, October 24 – PHOENIX
Sunday, October 27 – EDMONTON
Tuesday, October 29 – at Phoenix
Wednesday, October 30 – SAN JOSE
Saturday, November 2 – NASHVILLE
Thursday, November 7 – BUFFALO
Saturday, November 9 – VANCOUVER
-all games broadcast on FOX Sports West