May 5, 2014, 1:38 PM EDT
Like the three other West Coast teams in the NHL, the Los Angeles Kings are used to spending a bunch of time in airplanes during the regular season.
But in these playoffs — which started with a first-round series against California rival San Jose, and continues now with a match-up against the cross-town rival Ducks — they’ve barely spent any.
“We played St. Louis in the first round last year and it was a five-hour trip home,” said L.A. forward Justin Williams. “This is a 30-minute drive on a five o’clock game. You’re in bed before 10 o’ clock, it’s a piece of cake.”
The Kings aren’t the only team that’s enjoyed limited travel as part of the league’s new playoff format following realignment. The Ducks only had to go to Dallas in the first round; easy, compared to Detroit last year.
“We don’t have a team in the second round that has to travel 400 miles, which is nice in terms of the wear and tear of our athletes,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, per NESN.
There are still potentially long distances to travel in the first and second rounds of the playoffs. Montreal-Tampa Bay was an example of that this season. As long as there are wild-card spots, Vancouver-Nashville remains the longest potential trip.
Related: Bettman discusses expansion
- Eller, Habs agree to four-year, $14 million contract 9
- Cory Sarich hospitalized following cycling accident, expects ‘full recovery’ 6
- Stamkos shrugs off talk of LeBron-like homecoming to Toronto in 2016 26
- Avs and O’Reilly agree on two-year deal, but questions remain 42
- Rangers and Kreider avoid arbitration, agree on two-year deal 38
- Zuccarello takes Rangers’ one year, $3.5M deal 42
- Advancement? Leafs sign Booth for one year, $1.1M 25
- Leafs hire 28-year-old stats advocate as assistant GM 30
- NBC Sports to air over 100 NHL regular-season games in 2014-15 69
- Stars, Roussel agree on four-year, $8 million deal 3
- Babcock fires back over allegations that free agents avoid him (77)
- NBC Sports to air over 100 NHL regular-season games in 2014-15 (69)
- Vanek connected to federal gambling investigation (61)
- Lucic regrets handshake-line actions, but isn’t apologizing (58)
- Report: O’Reilly wants $6.7M deal, Avs counter at $5.5M (58)