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For the third time in the past week, the Calgary Flames (15-12-6, 36 points) are out west playing Pacific Division foe. But rather than a depleted Sharks club, the Flames face the Los Angeles Kings (18-12-5, 41 points), a team firmly in the playoff picture and one the Flames need to beat in order to move up in the Western Conference hierarchy.
The broadcast begins at 8:30 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

The Flames

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Dube – Lindholm – Toffoli
Huberdeau – Kadri – Lucic
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman
Lewis – Ruzicka – Ritchie
Hanifin – Andersson
Weegar – Tanev
Zadorov – Stone
Per reports from an optional morning skate, it sounds like Dan Vladar starts, with Jacob Markstrom backing up. (It’s the first half of a back-to-back, so presumably Markstrom would play in Anaheim on Friday night.) The projected extras are Nick DeSimone, Connor Mackey and Matthew Phillips.
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The Flames are 5-3-3 in the month of December so far. Sure, they’ve been streaky – the month has included an 0-2-3 stretch – but they’ve found ways to cobble together points and they’ve managed to stick around in a lot of games. When they’ve gotten decent run support, they’ve managed to string wins together.
Keep an eye on Elias Lindholm, who has 15 points in 10 games in December so far. His line was excellent against San Jose on Tuesday.

The Kings

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Fiala – Kopitar – Kempe
Iafallo – Danault – Moore
Arvidsson – Lizotte – Kaliyev
Anderson-Dolan – Kupari – Vilardi
Anderson – Doughty
Durzi – Roy
Edler – Walker
Pheonix Copley is expected to start in net, backed up by Jonathan Quick. Their projected extras are Carl Grundstrom and Jordan Spence.
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The Kings have had an up and down season so far, with arguably the bottom of their season being a 9-8 overtime loss to Seattle. Yes, they gave up nine goals in a game. That game prompted a bit of a shuffle, with goaltender Cal Peterson sent to the AHL and Copley coming up. Copley’s won five of his six starts, while the team collectively has gone 6-3-1 since then.
The Kings are well-coached, balanced and play with structure. They’ll be a tough test for the Flames.

Unavailable players

The Flames are without Oliver Kylington and Dennis Gilbert.
The Kings are without Brendan Lemieux.

The numbers

Flames
Kings
15
Wins
18
36 (.545)
Points (%)
41 (.586)
53.1
xGF%
53.3
19.6
PP%
23.0
81.1
PK%
71.3

Head to head

This is the second of four games between these teams this season. The Flames beat the Kings by a 6-5 score back in mid-November.

Social life

Here are your recommended follows from Kings Twitter:
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