FGD 76: Here come the Kings (7pm MT, SN West)

The local hockey team can get a step closer to clinching a division title tonight when they host the worst team in their conference.

The Calgary Flames (47-21-7, 101 points) welcome the Los Angeles Kings (27-39-8, 62 points) to the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Flames are the top team in the Western Conference, while the Kings are in the conference’s basement.

The puck drops at 7 p.m. on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. The Flames opened as a heavy (-465) favourite on Oddshark’s moneyline.

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Neal – Jankowski – Czarnik
Mangiapane – Ryan – Hathaway

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Fantenberg – Andersson

Mike Smith starts for the third consecutive game, backed up by David Rittich (who has been under the weather since the weekend, which explains three starts in a row for Smith). The scratches will be the typical crew of Dalton Prout, Oliver Kylington, Michael Stone and Alan Quine, while Sam Bennett remains sidelined with an upper body injury. Bennett would be playing if it were the playoffs, but the team wants to give him time to get up to 100%.

The Flames have won six of their last seven outings. They have a magic number of 4.5 to clinch Pacific Division/Western Conference top spot. They’ve gotten some help, by way of the Sharks losing games lately, but they’ve also taken care of their own business. If the Flames keep doing what they’ve been doing, they’ll get some favourable seeding in the post-season.

The top line has been a little bit quiet lately, but perhaps they’re due for a breakout.

The Kings

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Iafallo – Kopitar – Brown
Grundstrom – Kempe – Toffoli
Clifford – Carter – Lewis
Wagner – rotating – Brodzinski

Forbort – Doughty
Martinez – Roy
Phaneuf – Walker

Jack Campbell starts for the Kings, backed up by Jonathan Quick (who likely starts tomorrow against Edmonton). The projected extras are Mike Amadio, Paul Ladue and Ilya Kovalchuk (who’s not on the trip). Brendan Leipsic is currently on the shelf. The Kings are going with 11 forwards and seven defenders this evening.

The Kings are the worst team in the Western Conference (and second-worst in the entire NHL). They’ve been playing fairly well, though, with recent wins over San Jose and Anaheim. They’re a fairly flat team this season, but they’re still an NHL club and they’ve got nothing to lose other than draft positioning.

The Numbers

Wins 47 27
Points 101 62
Adjusted Corsi 53.9% 47.3%
Power Play 20.7% 15.9%
Penalty Kill 79.7% 75.4%

Injury Report

The Flames are without Sam Bennett.

The Kings are without Brendan Leipsic.

Season Series

Tonight is the third of four meetings between Calgary and Los Angeles this season. So far, the Flames have won both match-ups. They’ll meet one more time on Apr. 1 at Staples Center to close out their series.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Kings Twitter follows for tonight:

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  • Uncle Iroh

    Lol Mike Smith can’t even hit .900 against a cellar dweller. If Peters is dumb enough to continue starting him in round 1, the Flames won’t make it the second round.

      • Franko J

        I know this is the Flames first loss in a what 4 games, but does that first line need to be benched. If Gio keeps playing the way he is, there will be nothing left in the tank.
        Is it me, or does anyone here also feels very nervous about this team heading into the playoffs? I just feel that for a team that is in first sure is not playing like a team that is going to win a round or two. I could be wrong, but I just don’t think our first line is a playoff line and won’t be able to do anything come playoffs. And as well as Gio has played I think the rest of the D has struggled. Last but not least I have no idea what to expect with the goaltending. Maybe too many questions to be answered.

    • Franko J

      Doesn’t matter who they have in net for the Flames if the so called first line is playing the way they are. Two games with Neil back and two games where the opposition has run circles around him.

  • LannyMac

    Ok if anyone says in the next don’t worry Neal will show up for the playoffs you are an absolute moron. He didn’t show up today he won’t show up tomorrow and he is not going to be anything but trash for the next 4 plus years. You do a lot of good Tre but man you have absolutely absent when it comes to a few FA signings

  • Skylardog

    Trash all you want but we are not, and will not, ice the best 19 guys available when the playoffs start. Problem is, because we refuse to switch up the roster and lines, despite 2 of the 4 lines not going. We don’t have any clue who our best 19 guys are, and we especially have no clue who our best 19 are under playoff conditions.

  • cgyokgn

    What a disappointing game. By this time of the season the PP should be a well oiled machine but tonight it was an embarrassment. How long has the first line been MIA? Let’s hope this game is just a one-off as far as scoring goals but the absence of the first line is worrying.

  • LannyMac

    You know what I loved best about the sedin’s they disappeared in the playoffs for the most part. Welcome to Sedin’s 2.0 it’s called the flames first line. It would appear as though our pretty boy first line is rather Chicken Sh!t when the going gets tough. Would love to see Monahan get traded for a player like Couturier before the league completely figures out Monahan

    • Skylardog

      There is no playoff window if you are right.
      And I keep thinking back to how the team as a whole was -41 in the playoffs against the Ducks in 2017.All that in just 4 games. The top line was -12 with not a single goal for at 5v5.

  • Franko J

    If anybody was able to watch the Bruins vs Lightening tonight there are two teams ready for the post season. Calgary if they make it out of the conference they have no chance against either team come the finals. As much as I would love to see a deep playoff run from the Flames, after tonight’s game I just don’t see how this team will overcome the shoddy refereeing come playoffs. In the playoffs everything called by them in the regular season is forgotten by playoff time. The question at hand is do the Flames have enough players with the grit and tenacity to fight through all the muck and neutral zone muddling? After against LA tonight I’m not sure.
    The big test comes Wednesday night against the Stars. A team that has owned them for the past two seasons.

    • Skylardog

      Ad St Louis to the list of teams that are ready. Amazing what having a goalie has done for them. They will get home ice against Nashville in the first round.