We played the Kings right before Christmas. Now we have them in our building. We played the Oilers last night. We have them back in our building in a few nights. I think fans should love it. We love it because it brings the best out of everyone. - Bob Hartley
CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames won’t have to wait long to see the Los Angeles Kings again.
After stunning the defending Stanley Cup champions with a 4-3 overtime, come-from-behind victory at Staples Center prior to the Christmas, Bob Hartley’s Flames will welcome Los Angeles into Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.
“It can work for you; it can work against you,” said Hartley, who witnessed rookie Johnny Gaudreau’s first career NHL hat trick prior to Mark Giordano’s winner with 53 seconds remaining in overtime to snap Calgary’s eight game winless streak to send the Flames caroling into the holiday break.
“I don’t think it’s a matter of for or against. I believe that it builds rivalries a little bit. It brings the best out of everyone. At the same time, preparation-wise we can use our own game to prepare our own hockey club because it’s not like we played them three months ago. That’s the way the schedule is. You have to play according to what the schedule maker gives you.”
Joe Colborne knows the Kings, who are 13-1-2 when leading after two periods, will be looking to avenge the pre-Christmas blemish.
“It started with a big win in LA and they’re going to be ready to play against us and want some revenge,” Colbone said. “It’s going to be a tough game tomorrow and a big physical battle.
“The Kings, they have one of the top teams in the league still. It’s always a good challenge.”
It’s the same set-up the Flames will face with the Edmonton Oilers, too. On the strength of a two-goal performance from Gaudreau, the Flames took a 4-1 decision from the Oilers on Saturday.
They’ll host Edmonton again on New Year’s Eve.
The structure of the schedule between the Flames, Kings and Oilers brings the best out of all parties involved, Hartley admitted.
“The more you play a team, emotions run high, especially if there was something that happened the previous game,” he said. “It’s easier to make some friends out there rather than you play them once in October and you meet them in late March. Those rivalries, they’re always great.
“We played the Kings right before Christmas. Now we have them in our building. We played the Oilers last night. We have them back in our building in a few nights. I think fans should love it. We love it because it brings the best out of everyone.”
COLBORNE SNAPS SLUMP
Scoring 7:08 into Calgary’s 4-1 win against the Oilers not only gave the Flames an early lead, it also helped Colborne off the schneid.
It served as the 24-year-old’s first goal of the year and first in 27 games dating back to last season.
“It was nice, obviously,” said Colborne, whose last goal prior to Saturday came in a 4-3 win on March 28, 2014 against the New York Rangers. “It’s frustrating when the chances you’re getting aren’t going in but to finally get that one was a big weight off my shoulders.
“I’ve been generating chances and sooner or later they’re going to go in. You’re going to go through times like that in a season and hopefully I wont have any that are that prolonged (again).”
The slump, Colborne admitted, weighed on him.
“I feel like during the game there’s a couple times when you’d miss one that is normally going in and you’re wondering if it’s ever going to end,” the 6-foot-5 forward said. “I felt like I was still doing a lot of other things so the coaching staff was really good in helping make sure I was staying focused on controlling the things I could control and sooner or later the bounces are going to go in.”
JOORIS GETTING CLOSER
By his own admission, he’s day-to-day. But he’s also hopeful.
Having missed the past two games with an upper body injury, Josh Jooris isn’t certain he’ll be ready in time for Calgary’s rematch against the Kings.
“I just treat it every day and hope it gets better come tomorrow,” Jooris said.
“It’s tough. You want to be out there. It’s tough watching from up top but I’ve seen guys go through it this year and how they’ve handled it like Joe and (Matt Stajan) and guys like that. They were real positive with it. Its just part of the game. It happens. You just have to make sure you treat it the right way and get it back to normal.”
Jooris, 24, has eight goals and 13 points in 28 games this season.