Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

FGD 40: Welcoming royal visitors (7pm MT, SN West)

After closing out 2017 with a victory over the Blackhawks, the Calgary Flames (19-16-4) kick off the 2018 portion of their calendar against the Los Angeles Kings (24-11-5). The Kings are perhaps the Flames most bitter recent rival (aside from the Canucks), and the majority of their most important regular season games in recent years have been against the gentlemen in black and silver from So-Cal. With the Flames in need of differentiating themselves from the clump of mediocre Western Conference clubs they’re mired in, this could be another important clash between these two teams.

The puck drops shortly after 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

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The Flames

Projected lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Ferland
Tkachuk – Backlund – Brouwer (A)
Bennett – Jankowski – Hathaway
Mangiapane – Stajan – Lazar

Giordano (C) – D.Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Kulak – Stone

Mike Smith starts for the 34th time this season. He’s 15-13-3 with a 2.57 goals against average and a .920 save percentage. He’s backed up by David Rittich. The healthy scratches are Matt Bartkowski and the newly-recalled Marek Hrivik. Jaromir Jagr is dealing with a nagging lower-body injury and once again won’t be available tonight. Other line-up tweaks may happen tonight as well.

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Since the beginning of December, the Flames have been a streaky team: three losses, two wins, three losses, two wins, three losses and, on New Year’s Eve, another win. The Flames will need roughly 95 points to make the playoffs, so they’ll need to grind out 53 points in their remaining 43 games – that’s a .616 points percentage. Long story short, they’ll need to win roughly two out of every three games – by hook or by crook – from here on out. The streakiness absolutely has to end.

The Kings

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

Pearson – Kopitar – Brown
Gaborik – Kempe – Toffoli
Clifford – Shore – Lewis
Iafallo – Mitchell – Jokinen

Muzzin – Doughty
MacDermid – Martinez
Forbort – Gravel

Jonathan Quick starts for Los Angeles. He’s 19-11-2 with a 2.20 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. He’s backed up by Darcy Kuemper. The healthy scratches are Oscar Fantenberg, Andy Andreoff and Jonny Brodzinski.

The Kings have the best goals against average and the best save percentage in the entire NHL. Quick and Kuemper have been lights-out and they’re playing on a team that gives up an average amount of shots. It’s not like they’re an incredible possession or defensive team, they’re just a team that plays a smart game and gets strong goaltending.

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Los Angeles beat Edmonton 5-0 in their last outing, so they’re not all bad.

Injury Report

Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee), Kris Versteeg (hip) and Michael Frolik (jaw) are on the injured reserve.

Los Angeles: Jeff Carter (ankle) and Christian Folin (lower-body) are on the injured reserve.

When Last We Met

This is the second of four games between these teams this season. The Flames won their first meeting, back on Oct. 11 in Los Angeles, by a 4-3 score in overtime. Sean Monahan scored the winner.

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The Numbers

Wins 19 24
Points 42 53
Adjusted Corsi 52.0% 50.1%
Power Play 18.6% 17.6%
Penalty Kill 78.0% 87.4%

Know Thy Enemy

These fine So-Cal peeps will presumably be tweeting about the Los Angeles hockey club:

Sum It Up

It’s a key divisional game between the Flames and one of their most bitter recent rivals, with the locals desperately needing points to get back into the playoff pack.


Let’s show Vegas something they’ve never seen before—Alberta hockey fans.

Enter the Vegas Breakaway for a chance to win a trip for two to Las Vegas and tickets to a Golden Knights game. Enter to win at atb.com/vegas

  • freethe flames

    Imagine if we scored a PP goal. Speed on all 4 lines makes a huge difference; I have said that forever. Even Brouwer had jump in his game tonight. There is still more speed available in this organization. It will be interesting to see what the news about Jagr is.

  • cgyokgn

    Game wasn’t televised in BC so wasn’t able to watch… so how did they pull off that dominant second period with 17 shots and four goals? Probably one of the best periods they’ve ever had!

  • Vernon30

    Great second, good third. Speed wins. They also shot the puck a lot, and got bodies in front. GG should never them have lost-hitting contests in practice again. Let’s do some breakaway work. 3 posts, several missed breakaways tonight.

  • Off the wall

    I don’t know about the rest of you on FN, but Mangiapane and Lazar were pretty good together.
    I love their speed.

    As much as it pained me to watch Brouwer on the Backlund line, he actually played well with them. Either that or he’s getting the Backs/ Chuck bump.

    Our first line is returning to form and the 3rd line is giving us secondary help.

    If we can maintain this consistency, ( 2nd-3rd period) perhaps our postseason dream will come to fruition..

  • Stajanforadirtyboot

    Even Brouwer-play had jump tonight. They beat a very good hockey team tonight. Having speed on the 4th line ( Stajan not included) is great to see. Still baffled sometime by General Gels decision making but I am just a simple fan so I am sure there is some method to his madness that I don’t understand. Hope they string a few more wins together and make a push. That would be fun.

    • freethe flames

      Even a slow player can find himself in a good position if his linemates are playing with speed and are aggressive. Tkachuk and Backs helped Brouwer look better. The same can be said for Mangiapae and Lazar’s speed helped Stajan.

  • cgyokgn

    On the radio they were saying that Ferland and Backlund both missed practices this week due to flu… Ferly apparently also got strep throat and Backs was on an IV yesterday… so give them both huge props for playing so well tonight.