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

  • Hockeyfan

    Maybe I am out to lunch, but, IMO, keeping that 1st line intact right now is wrong. They are doing nothing. here goes.
    Sam Sean Mangy
    JG Janko Matt TH
    MFer Backs Hath
    Stagnant Lazar Jagr
    JG needs a change, Backs too, neither have done anything for weeks. Same for Sean, and let’s face it, Brouwer is a bum and the worst piece we have, even worse than Stagnant. would have liked to see Dave in net as well.

  • Off the wall

    Here’s my happy stat for today. We are 12th in the Conference with the same ROW’s as.. get this.. Edmonton.Yikes! 17wins

    For all those clamouring that we’re only 4 points out of the Wildcard, let me remind you of ROW’s.

    Colorado, Chicago, Dallas and Minnesota all have 19 ROW.
    Only Anaheim has less. Our ROW will keep us from ever moving up in the race even if we can somehow manage a tie in points with the aforementioned teams.

    I’m tired of losing. I’m tired of GG and his nonsense. I’m tired of Cameron and his face.

    I believe GG thinks ROW stands for Right Or Wrong. I can’t explain how disappointed I am that Brouwer gets to play up in the rotation.

    Oh well, since this is supposed to be a happy stat, here it is …sorry there isn’t one.

    I decided not to put our playoff percentage in today, I’m afraid we might be inclined to use Flames ? on something unsuitable.

  • redwhiteblack

    The Brother was a better option than Brouwer. He should be watching. His $4.5 mil the only thing keeping him on the ice. It is crazy. For the love of god put him on waivers or in the press box. He should never play. GG puts him on the 2nd line?? GG has to go. He is a clear liability to this org.

    • The Beej

      Not sure why everyone is so worried about Brouwer on the 2nd. I wouldnt put him there but one player isnt going to make that big of a difference.

      He is still a better option than Lazar Hamilton or Stajan (forget his salary… his buyout is earmarked for tkachuks raise and we are not up against the cap. ) and it will take a couple weeks to work Mangiapane and Hrivik into meaningful minutes.

      This is essentially what Brouwer was signed to do. Be that veteran stop gap at RW until a young player is ready and can be put in a position to succeed.

      • ThisBigMouthIsRight

        How will anyone Ever Know when a young player is ready? They all ways get shafted to the fourth line or with Brouwer? Lazar did very well last year with Bennett & Chaison.(way better than Brouwer).. and Benny is way better this year with Hath/jags – Janks than his forced roll last year!

  • Atomic Clown

    Cheering for a sports team is supposed to be a thing of pleasure and elation. The flames specialize in unparalleled boredom and frustration. Here’s to 5+ goals for the flames, I’m itching to cheer more than once per game. And for the love of God Gaudreau, finish the 4 breakaways you get per game. It’s like 2015 Paul Byron all over again

  • Justthateasy

    Why is Hamilton standing there behind his own Blue Line icing the puck? You know this team can’t win a Faceoff in their own end so what are you doing?
    He’s got to get over his angst because his Babysitter Is Gone.

  • KKisTHEproblem

    We are not mired in the clump of mediocre Western Conference clubs. We are on the bottom of the clump, possibly falling to the top of the bottom clump of Western Conference teams if we don’t win at least 2 of the next 3 games against western conference foes, the 4 point games. These are critical games coming up

    • Off the wall

      We really need to win all 3 games, there’s no time like the present to get our act together.

      Never mind, I just realized we have Brouwer on the Backlund line. Kkis this game goodbye!