Winning on the road isn't easy in the NHL, but don't tell that to the Los Angeles Kings. They have made it look easy in the first couple months of the 2023-24 season, and that has them looking like a serious Stanley Cup threat.
On Thursday night, the Kings breezed passed the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 in the Bell Centre to pick up their 11th straight road win to start the 2023-24 season. That set an NHL record for the most consecutive road wins to start a season, and Los Angeles is now seven away from the all-time record for consecutive road victories.
The Kings are starting to look invincible away from Crypto.com Arena. Most teams are more comfortable at home for a variety of reasons, but they must be staying in some lavish hotels with top-of-the-line mattresses when they go out of town.
It's also important to note that Los Angeles hasn't just been beating teams on the road. It has been pummeling opponents, and last night was no exception. The Kings have put up some truly impressive numbers despite not having the benefit of the last line change.
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On an individual level, six different Kings are averaging at least a point per game on the road. Goaltender Cam Talbot has been a human wall outside of Los Angeles, posting a 1.24 GAA and .956 save percentage in nine appearances.
In all fairness, the Kings are an excellent team no matter where they're playing. Put them in L.A., in Boston, or on the moon, and they will win a lot of hockey games. That said, Los Angeles has a unique ability to pick up wins on the road, and that might very well prove to be extremely valuable in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The cliche that home ice matters in the playoffs doesn't always hold true, and it wasn't the case in 2023. Last postseason, home teams went 41-47, and only four teams had a winning record in their own barn.
Being able to win on the road is even more important in the playoffs, and the Kings have it down to a science. The way things stand right now, it looks like Los Angeles will almost certainly have home-ice advantage for at least one playoff round. That's a nice luxury, but it's even nicer to know that if they do drop one at home, there will be no panic in their game when they go into a hostile environment for a must-win game.
They were unable to to that in Game 5 against the Oilers last season -- and in Game 7 the year before that -- but the Kings won't lack any confidence in similar situations next spring.