Game Preview: Flames vs Los Angeles Kings

CALGARY FLAMES (35-27-15 85 points) vs. LOS ANGELES KINGS (37-27-12 86 points) GAME 78

 

PREVIEW:

The Flames finally snapped their five game losing streak on Monday with a huge 5-4 victory over the Dallas Stars to once again give them a breath in their chase for the 8th and final playoff spot. Tonight, like their remaining five games, becomes the game of the year as the Los Angeles Kings come to town as just one point separates the two teams. This is the fourth and final meeting between the clubs with the Flames winning two of the first three match-ups. It’s a must win game for both clubs as with a win tonight, the Flames will find themselves tied for that elusive 8th position with the Phoenix Coyotes, while the Kings can jump ahead of the Yotes with a victory of their own.

It’s amazing how successful the Flames are when their top players up front are their top players. The line of Mike Cammalleri, Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay were the Flames best line as they combined for 6 points, including three from Cammalleri, who now has 4 points in the two games since he returned from injury. With the Flames top players playing like they should be, the PP also woke up, scoring on three opportunities, all at crucial points of the game.  Another thing that hasn’t happened very often this season is the team helped shoulder the load from Miikka Kiprusoff after Kiprusoff let in a soft goal in the opening minute of the game. The Flames still have a lot of work to do in order to make the playoffs but if they take one game at a time and play with the desperation they did on Monday against Dallas, anything is possible.

The Kings, who have struggled to score goals all season, were held scoreless in their loss to Vancouver on Monday. It marked the 9th time the team has been shutout this season. At times in Calgary, we wonder where this team would be without Kiprusoff, it is the same in Los Angeles as Jonathan Quick has posted remarkable numbers this season with little or no support (32 wins, 1.96 GAA, .929 SV% and 8 SO). In Quick’s 32 losses this season, the Kings have scored a total of 39 goals, as they sit 29th in league scoring, averaging just 2.22 goals per game. Monday’s loss was the second consecutive for the Kings as they will play their second game of their four game road trip tonight.

I wrote this Flames team off after their SO loss to the Wild last Thursday and even after another loss following that, the team once again woke up, played the way they should and gave their fans another glimmer of hope. Scratching tooth and nail for the final playoff spot and needing every point they can get, each team should come out firing tonight as this one should have a playoff type atmosphere. The Flames need to do exactly what they did against the Stars on Monday night, their best players have to be their best players and their PP once again has to come through in the clutch. Kiprusoff was rock solid after allowing that weak goal early in the game on Monday, which could be bad news for the already low scoring Kings. The Kings have underachieved in my eyes this season and with all their talent it’s a head scratcher why they struggle to score goals. The Kings will make up their game in hand on, on the Coyotes tonight, as they could fall to 10th spot with a loss. I still think the task to make the playoffs is too daunting for the Flames but I have been wrong before. It’s game seven for the Flames tonight, make sure you don’t miss it.

 

PROJECTED LINES:

Flames:                                                                        Kings:

1- TANGUAY-CAMMALLERI-IGINLA                            1- BROWN-KOPITAR-WILLIAMS

2- GLENCROSS-JOKINEN-MOSS                               2- KING-RICHARDS-CARTER

3- COMEAU-STAJAN-STEMPNIAK                              3- LEWIS-STOLL-PENNER

4- KOSTOPOULOS-JONES-JACKMAN                        4- CLIFFORD-FRASER-NOLAN

 

1- BOUWMEESTER-BUTLER                                       1- DOUGHTY-SCUDERI

2- GIORDANO-HANNAN                                               2- MITCHELL-VOYNOV

3- BABCHUK-WILSON                                                  3- MARTINEZ-GREENE

 

1- KIPRUSOFF                                                              1- QUICK

2- KARLSSON                                                               2- BERNIER

 

EXTRA- BOUMA, HORAK                                 EXTRA- RICHARDSON, DREWISKE, WESTGARTH

 

INJURIES:

Flames: D- Cory Sarich (Upper Body- Day-to-Day), D- Derek Smith (Upper Body- Day-to-Day), D- T.J Brodie (Upper Body- Day-to-Day), C- Mikael Backlund (Upper Body- IR)

Kings: LW- Simon Gagne (Concussion- IR), LW- Scott Parse (Lower Body- IR)

 

STATS:

Flames

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

J. Iginla                     

77

31

33

64

-4

O. Jokinen

77

22

37

59

-7

A. Tanguay

61

13

36

49

10

C Glencross

62

25

21

46

-8

M. Cammalleri

61

17

20

37

-10

 

Kings

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

A. Kopitar

76

24

41

65

7

J. Williams

76

18

35

53

6

D. Brown

76

19

28

47

13

M. Richards

68

16

23

39

2

J. Carter

54

21

13

34

-12

 

PP-

Flames: 18.1% (13th)

Kings: 15.6% (23rd)

PK-

Flames: 83.7% (9th)

Kings: 87.8% (4th)

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS:

 

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

1. X- ST. LOUIS

77

48

20

9

105

2. Y- VANCOUVER

76

46

21

9

101

3. SAN JOSE

76

39

27

10

88

4. X- DETROIT

76

46

25

5

97

5. NASHVILLE

77

44

25

8

96

6. CHICAGO

77

42

26

9

93

7. DALLAS

76

41

30

5

87

8. PHOENIX

77

37

27

13

87

 

9. LOS ANGELES

76

37

27

12

86

10. COLORADO

78

40

32

6

86

11. CALGARY

77

35

27

15

85

12. ANAHEIM

76

32

33

11

75

13. MINNESOTA

76

31

35

10

72

14. EDMONTON

76

31

36

9

71

15. COLUMBUS

76

24

45

7

55

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Last ten games: Flames 5-2-3, Kings 6-4-0
  • The Flames are 5-0-1 in their last 6 games at the Dome, while posting an 8-4-6 record against Pacific Division teams this season.
  • Miikka Kiprusoff, who has started all but one of the Flames 37 home games, is 19-8-3 with a 2.02 GAA, lifetime against the Kings.
  • Mike Cammalleri, who has 4 points in two games since returning from injury, played his first five seasons in L.A. and has five goals and three assists in nine match-ups against his former club.
  • After a 10-game home winning streak against the Kings were they outscored them 39-10 during that span, the Flames have lost their last two on Dome ice (0-1-1).
  • Jarome Iginla snapped his 5-game pointless streak with a couple of assists on Monday against the Stars, while Olli Jokinen snapped his 7-game pointless streak with a PP goal.
  • Jonathan Quick who has been the Kings backbone this season, is red hot of late, winning five of his last seven starts with a 1.41 GAA, a .943 SV % and 1 SO.
  • The Flames have done a fantastic job in shutting down the Kings top scorer Anze Kopitar. In Kopitar’s last 13 games against the Flames, he has only managed two goals and two assists.
  • The Kings aren’t only fighting for the last playoff spot; they are also battling for the Pacific Division lead as they sit just two points back of the San Jose Sharks who have 88 points.

 

GAME DAY QUOTE:

"The first thing I tend to do, when I get on the bus or get home, is go on the app on my phone and see who is winning, who won and what the standings are like, I think everyone on the team is kind of scoreboard-watching. We're just controlling what we can do."

– Kings defensemen Drew Doughty

 

 

Follow me on Twitter: @NickSymon

Comments

Derrick Newman's picture

Here we go again, eh Nick? I'm predicting a hard fought 2-1 win...possibly a shootout win believe it or not (as much as the Flames cant afford to go to a shootout). It's going to be tight in Sutter vs Sutter battle.