The Los Angeles Kings will begin their defense of the Stanley Cup when they host the New York Rangers on Oct. 12 at the Staples Center, according to the 2012-13 schedule released Thursday by the NHL.
The Kings will hoist their championship banner into the Staples Center rafters against a Rangers squad that fell just short of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.
Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist beat out the Kings’ Jonathan Quick for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s top goaltender, Wednesday night. Quick did, however, earn second team All-NHL honors for his efforts this past season. He was named MVP of the Stanley Cup Finals.
One highlight on the Kings’ schedule is a Stanley Cup rematch against the New Jersey Devils Feb. 9, the only time the two teams play each other all season.
The Kings will also get playoff foes Vancouver, St. Louis and Phoenix early in the season, playing these teams four times in the first fifteen games. The Kings will finish their season with a home game against the Anaheim Ducks on April 13.
Even with all the games set, the start of the NHL season depends on whether the NHL Players’ Association and league owners can negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement.
The current deal between the two parties expires Sept. 15. A labor dispute resulted in the entire 2004-05 NHL season being cancelled.