The 2014 NHL Stadium Series kicks off Saturday, Jan. 25 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles when the Anaheim Ducks (37-10-5, 79 points) square off against the Los Angeles Kings (29-16-6, 64 points) in the inaugural game of the newly implemented concept.
While sunny Southern California isn’t exactly the kind of climate associated with NHL hockey games, the experts whom the league hired to pull off such an ambitious feat have enough experience in this field to help this go off without a hitch.
In case you needed more incentive to watch the game, though, hard rock legends KISS will play the event:
KISS will perform at the 2014 NHL Stadium Series outdoor game between the LA Kings & Anaheim Ducks on 1/25/13. pic.twitter.com/jvvUrixHRz— Pearl Drums (@PearlDrumCorp) January 13, 2014
Here is all the vital viewing information for the game and a preview of what fans should expect.
Where: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, Calif.
When: Saturday, Jan. 25 at 9:30 p.m. ET
Watch: NBC Sports Network
Live Stream: NBC Sports LiveExtra
Preview and Prediction
The NHL implemented major changes during the offseason, and one of the biggest upgrades for the league was the addition of four outdoor games to be played at open-air arenas—dubbed the Stadium Series.
While the Winter Classic and Heritage Classic are basically the same concept, the Stadium Series will take the outdoor games to markets that wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this feat a few years ago.
The change all starts in Los Angeles.
The Ducks and the Kings are two of the best teams in the Western Conference, but as great as the action should be on the ice, the atmosphere of holding a hockey game at Dodger Stadium is something so foreign to people that even non-hockey fans will be intrigued to catch some of the action.
Southern California is a warm location that makes building an ice rink outdoors nearly impossible, but the team of engineers, scientists and hockey insiders the NHL has employed have the situation handled.
Senior director of facilities operations Dan Craig spoke with Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com on Tuesday about the forecast for the game and what his ideal temperature would be for Saturday:
This is good [weather]. However, three or four days ago we have had even better. By the time we were ready to drop the puck, we were below 55 degrees. That's what I am really looking forward to is having the bottom drop out. I know the people in the stands won't enjoy it that much, but if it gets below 55 degrees we are just going to have an absolutely beautiful night here.
We're saying 55 to 60 by 7:30 p.m., so that's what we are looking for.
No matter how the weather unfolds during the game and how the ice withstands the adverse conditions, this matchup is going to be won by the better all-around team.
Right now, that’s Anaheim.
The Ducks and Kings have become very familiar with each other over the years, squaring off in the Pacific Division, playing in a similar geographical location and scheduled to meet five times over the course of the 2013-14 season, including Thursday, Jan. 23 at the Honda Center.
With back-to-back games, the battle between Anaheim and Los Angeles has the chance to get very chippy in front of the raucous crowd at Dodger Stadium.
Who wouldn’t want to see a fight in the first Stadium Series matchup?
As well as the Kings have played at times this season, a lack of consistency in the offensive end will hurt them against one of the most dynamic rosters in the league.
Who ya got?
Los Angeles has now lost 10 of its last 14 games.
With the Ducks' depth at forward (3.4 goals per game), enough defensive protection (allowing just 2.4 goals per game) and a pair of outstanding goaltenders, the current lineup is dangerous in every aspect of the game.
Whether it’s outdoors or not, Anaheim should win this game.
Predicted Final Score: Anaheim 4, Los Angeles 2
All stats via NHL.com.