Playing the Lead Role in Consecutive Games
Because of travel concerns, it’s not unusual for visiting NHL teams to play the Mighty Ducks and Kings on consecutive nights. After all, the Arrowhead Pond and Staples Center are fewer than 60 miles apart.
Even though the drive may be short, there’s a big advantage for a team facing an opponent that had played the night before. That’s where the Ducks get the short end of the stick.
Out of the 17 games on consecutive days this season, the Ducks will play the lead game 12 times, including Wednesday night against Edmonton, which faces the Kings tonight.
Anaheim Coach Bryan Murray, however, doesn’t think it’s a big deal.
“Sometimes it is an advantage, but most of the time it is just another game on another night,” Murray said. “I really don’t think that back-to-back games are a benefit or a detriment. Only if a team is banged up does it really play a part.”
Before Wednesday, the Ducks had played the first game twice and were 0-1-1; the Kings were 1-1 in the second. In the three sets that the Ducks played the second game, they were 2-1; the Kings were 1-2 in the lead game.
Murray was in a similar situation last season when he coached Florida, which often had back-to-back games with Tampa Bay, and he believes any edge a team has is mental.
“If a team has been disappointed the night before, you know they are going to come out hard,” Murray said.