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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

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Know Thy Enemy

Your Kings Twitter follows for tonight:

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  • BlueMoonNigel

    Wonder what kind of effort the boys will bring tonight. Extremely disappointed with their game against the Stars, especially with the Grey Cup in the house. If I were a Flames’ owner, I would have been in the dressing room at the end of the game tearing strips off of everyone, including the coaches. Using the Stamps as my reference, I would have challenged them by using the old a$$hole theory: “If those a$$holes are good enough to win the cup, what is stopping you? Do you think those a$$holes are better than you? if you do, GET OFF MY TEAM!”

    The talking heads here and in TO continue to say how the Flames are probably lock to clinch one of the three playoff spots in the weak as water Pissific Division. Looking at the standings, I note that the Knights are back, the Sharks will be there and the Ducks with all their injuries are still hanging around. Oilers have collected 7 out of 10 points since Hitch came aboard, and the Coyotes are not as messed up as some might think. The Flames are a bad week away from taking quite a tumble if the rest of their division rivals get their act together over the same time.

    More efforts like that against the Stars will see this club once more booking tee times at the same time 16 other clubs have Stanley Cup stars in their eyes.

    • Heeeeere’s Johnny

      Would have been able to love this post without the last sentence. Even trolls deserve to be treated respectfully … otherwise they feel fed and encouraged to come back.

  • Flamesforever

    Have some confidence in our team guys, LA has barly touched the puck this game. They’ve been clogging up the neutral zone and praying we don’t score, 3rd period is when we’ll put the boots to them.

    • Spider you muda&@#ker

      Very hard to be the hunted not the hunter flames have struggled holding top spots in the pacific in the past couple seasons they seem to play with more fire in there belly when they are chasing teams in the standings Im hoping this year is different and they start showing some killer instinct

  • Speed Kills

    Well if the Flames are done playing a GG Style Corsi-capades like they did in the Second, there still may be a chance to win this in regulation~! 1)Crash/Drive the net. 2)Get someone in front of the Kings Net~! 3)Get the D shooting a few from the point! 4) Pass Pass Pass turnover isn’t working unless your a King! Less highlight reel attempts and more plain old Hard Hat Hockey please!

  • Crash

    At the Game tonight…
    1. The Kings are trying to play a style from a bygone era.
    2. It was Classy of the Flames to recognize ‘Neon Dion’ for him 1000th game in the NHL; mix of Cheers and Jeers from the crowd.
    3. If you don’t start scoring on the PP soon, other teams will continue to take liberties with our best players
    4. We’re a third period team.

    In other news, I’m going to be joining Mr. Martin Gelinas (“Gelly”) for his post game interview at the Hot Stove Lounge, plugging our Movember team (Gelly’s on our team!!!) Doctors without Razors! I’m hoping he gives us a plug to raise awareness for Men’s Mental Health, Suicide Prevention as well as Prostate and Testicular Cancer. Check us out on Movember.com, team “Doctors without Razors”. See if you can also spot the Baseball LEGEND who’s neck and neck in fundraising with Gelly on our Moustache Money raising team. We’re 5th in the Country with ~77 K raised, but we’re gunning for #1. Wish us Luck!

  • everton fc

    Glad Lomberg’s getting a game.

    The fact Clifford’s a 2nd line LW on the Kings shows how low they’ve fallen. Look for Clifford vs. Lomberg, as a possibility. Perhaps, unfortunately.

        • everton fc

          We’ll see how he does. If he helps that line continue it’s aggressive play, can help on the PK – heaven’s if he gets a point this evening…

          We shall see. The organization sees value in him, but they also see/saw value in Czarnik. Brouwer. Others.

          • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

            Ryan Lomberg has never broken 30 Points in the AHL (he’s on pace for 23 Points this year). He’s barley a third liner in the AHL the only reason he gets NHL looks is he “acts tough”, but he isn’t tough at all he loses every fight even against lite weights and has a knack for just pissing off opponents enough to get going again. Kirby Rychel plays a sandpaper game and he actually is also a Hockey player that has tangible NHL skills if we want that in the lineup.

            Czarnik has been a star at every level he has played, Lomberg can’t carry his jock. Czarnik would have a ton of points and people would be raving about him if Neal would bury a freaking chance once and awhile, Czarnik step himnip three times in prime areas last game alone. Once Mangiapane arrives Lomberg better be long gone, Czarnik will get going trust me.