143
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

FGD 26: A clash with the Kings (7pm MT, SN West)

After their weakest effort in weeks against Dallas, the Calgary Flames (14-9-2, 30 points) are back at it as they host the Los Angeles Kings (9-15-1, 19 points) in a big divisional clash. The Pacific Division is, well, a garbage heap, and two points tonight could give the Flames breathing room at the top of that garbage heap.

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

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Bennett
Czarnik – Ryan – Neal
Lomberg – Jankowski – Hathaway

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Andersson

Kylington – Hamonic

Mike Smith starts for the Flames, backed up by David Rittich – Smith won his last start against Arizona and Rittich lost his last start against Dallas, so it makes sense. The healthy scratches appear to be Dalton Prout and Andrew Mangiapane, freshly recalled from Stockton.

The Flames weren’t good against Dallas. They were loose in the defensive zone (in a bad way) and really couldn’t generate much with their breakouts. It’s the type of “burn the tape” game that induced Bill Peters to mention post-game that they were fortunate to get a point. They’ll be better against the Kings, if only because in many aspects of their game “better” is the only direction they can go.

The biggest thing to improve? Their power play. They needed a lot more from them against Dallas and it could be huge in a game against a tired Kings team that lost 24 hours ago in Edmonton and will be trying to keep things tight-checking at even strength.

The Kings

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Iafallo – Kopitar – Brown
Clifford – Carter – Toffoli
Kovalchuk – Kempe – Luff
Wagner – Thompson – Rempal

Forbort – Doughty
Muzzin – Martinez
Phaneuf – Ladue

Since Jonathan Quick started in Edmonton, most likely backup Cal Petersen starts tonight. Last night’s healthy scratches were Oscar Fantenberg and Michael Amadio, and with Jon Rosen reporting that Ilya Kovalchuk is a no-go for tonight with an ankle injury we’ll likely see Amadio slot in. That’ll likely result in some shuffling of the bottom two forward lines.

The Kings are the worst team in the Pacific Garbage Patch. They have some serious issues with their roster construction and some cap problems, too. They played in Edmonton last night. This isn’t so much a game that the Flames should win as it is a game they need to win if they want to keep trending towards being a playoff team. Simply put: this is the type of game good teams find ways to win.

The Numbers

CGY LAK
Wins 14 9
Points 30 19
Corsi Close 55.0% 48.4%
Power Play 20.4% 15.4%
Penalty Kill 76.0% 73.0%

Injury Report

The Flames are without Juuso Valimaki, Michael Frolik and Michael Stone.

The Kings are without Gabe Vilardi, Jonny Brodzinski, Carl Hagelin, Jack Campbell and Trevor Lewis.

Season Series

This is the second of four meetings between the Flames and Kings this season. Calgary beat Los Angeles 1-0 back on Nov. 10 at Staples Center.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Kings Twitter follows for tonight:

FGD brought to you by ATB Financial

From peewee to the pros, Albertans love the atmosphere, energy, and life lessons that take place at rinks across the province. And where there’s an arena, you’ll find an ATB branch nearby—with our team members cheering and fundraising along with you. See more information at ATB.com.