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FGD 31: The Kings come to town (8pm MT, CBC)

The Calgary Flames (14-12-4, 32 points) continue the Geoff Ward Era with a Hockey Night in Canada tilt against the club’s most bitter regular season rival, the Los Angeles Kings (11-17-2, 24 points). The Flames are playing their best hockey of the season, while the Kings played and lost 24 hours ago in Edmonton.

This game begins at 8 p.m. MT on CBC (and Sportsnet West, 360, One and City TV) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Tkachuk – Lindholm – Mangiapane
Monahan – Backlund – Dube
Lucic – Ryan – Gaudreau
Rinaldo – Rieder – Frolik

Giordano – Andersson
Hanifin – Hamonic
Brodie – Stone

Cam Talbot starts for the Flames, backed up by David Rittich. The projected scratches are Oliver Kylington and Mark Jankowski, with the Flames seemingly slotting in some grit in the form of Michael Stone and Zac Rinaldo.

Through three games with Ward behind the bench, the Flames have won three times. More important than that, they’ve looked much more composed, structured and generally less terrifying in their own end. They’re trending up, but can they maintain that composure against a Kings team that has seen them play some of their worst hockey this season?

The schedule is on the Flames’ side right now, but it’s up to them to grab hold of this game and wear the Kings down. These are two points the Flames absolutely need to have as they move forward.

The Kings

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Iafallo – Kopitar – Brown
Carter – Prokhorkin – Toffoli
Kempe – Lizotte – Wagner
Luff – Amadio – Lewis

Doughty – Walker
Ryan – Roy
Hutton – LaDue

Jack Campbell starts for the Kings, backed up by Jonathan Quick. Kurtis MacDermid and Ilya Kovalchuk were the healthy scratches in Edmonton, while Kyle Clifford was a scratch due to an illness.

The Kings were squeezed out of their game Friday night. The Oilers got an early lead and just bottled things up, frustrating the Kings to no end. If the Flames can replicate that style against a pretty lean Kings team – have you seen that blueline? – they can grab two points.

If they try to run and gun, the Kings have enough speed to make life difficult.

The Numbers

Flames Kings
Wins 14 11
Points 32 24
Adjusted Corsi 51.0% 49.9%
Power Play 17.2% 11.2%
Penalty Kill 85.6% 75.3%

Injury Report

The Flames are without F Sam Bennett (upper body), D Juuso Valimaki (ACL surgery) and F Austin Czarnik (lower body). Czarnik is in Stockton on a conditioning stint.

The Kings are missing D Derek Forbort (back) and D Alec Martinez (wrist).

When Last We Met

The Flames have played the Kings twice this season. They have played two of their worst stretches of hockey in recent memory against the Kings. They rallied back to force overtime and salvage a point back on Oct. 8, while they were generally thumped on the road back on Oct. 19.

Know Thy Enemy

Here are some key Twitter peeps to follow for tonight: