The Calgary Flames (25-16-6) have followed up a very impressive seven game winning streak with a pair of flat outings. Despite playing worse than they have in weeks, maybe even a month, the Flames have still managed to get points lately. They’ll need to find their sharpness and their swagger as they kick off a pair of back-to-back games by hosting the Los Angeles Kings (25-18-5). The Kings are playing their second game in as many nights, having lost to Vancouver last evening.
The puck drops just after 8 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
Projected lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:
Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Ferland
Tkachuk – Backlund – Brouwer (A)
Bennett – Jankowski – Hathaway
Hrivik – Stajan – Lazar
Giordano (C) – D.Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Kulak – Stone
Mike Smith starts for the Flames. He’s 20-13-5 with a 2.41 goals against average and a .926 save percentage. He’s backed up by David Rittich. The scratches are Andrew Mangiapane and Matt Bartkowski, as Marek Hrivik stays in the lineup after subbing in against Buffalo.
The Flames have two goals in the past two goals. That’s bad. They gotta score more. But the Flames have also played a pair of pretty rough games, with the Johnny Gaudreaus and Sean Monahans of the team being largely invisible, and they’ve still managed to get points. Hopefully their offense can wake up. Oddly, while the team has lost two in a row they’ve also earned points in nine straight (7-0-2) and 10 of their last 11 (7-1-3).
Last night’s lines via Daily Faceoff:
Iafallo – Kopitar – Brown
Pearson – Kempe – Toffoli
Gaborik – Amadio – Lewis
Clifford – Shore – Mitchell
Forbort – Doughty
Muzzin – Martinez
Gravel – Folin
Jonathan Quick started and got lit up last night so presumably Darcy Kuemper, who played in relief and was okayish, starts tonight. Kuemper is 5-1-3 with a 2.21 goals against average and a .931 save percentage. The scratches last night were Paul LaDue, Jonny Brodzinski and Andy Andreoff – I wouldn’t be shocked to see all three of them in tonight for the Kings.
The Kings were really bad last night, losing 6-2 and giving up an uncharacteristically large number of good scoring chances to the Canucks. Despite all this they still have the best goals against average of any NHL club this season. But yeesh, last night was bad. They seem like a fragile bunch that the Flames could jump all over, but we also probably all said the same thing about Buffalo.
Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee), Kris Versteeg (hip), Michael Frolik (jaw) and Jaromir Jagr (groin/knee) are on the injured reserve.
Los Angeles: Jeff Carter (ankle) is on the injured reserve.
When Last We Met
This is the third of four games between Calgary and the Kings. The Flames have won both of them by identical 4-3 scores – one of them in overtime. They’ll play one more time in Los Angeles in late March.
Know Thy Enemy
These nice folks will tweet about the Kings tonight:
I tried to find a third person named “John” or “Jon” who tweets Kings stuff, but I couldn’t.
Sum It Up
The Flames have points in many, many games in a row, despite playing two pretty poor games coming off their bye week. But it’s never too late to turn it all around, especially in the first half of a back-to-back set against divisional opponents.
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