KINGS (18-11-7) at FLAMES (19-15-3)
6:00PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 790 KABC
TRAVEL ALBERTA: This is the second of five meetings with the Flames this season, and the first of two trips to Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome; the Kings will return to play their final road game of the regular season in the same building on April 9. The Flames are playing the second of their six-game home stand tonight; they’re coming off of a 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. The Kings begin a three-game trek through Western Canada tonight fresh off of a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks Saturday night, and a four-game home stand they finished with a 3-0-1 record.
CALGARY’S HOT: Although the weather in Calgary is expected to be a nippy 0 degrees Fahrenheit at the start of tonight’s game, the Flames have shown signs of heating up after trudging through an eight-game losing streak (0-7-1), which they snapped last Monday night against the Kings at STAPLES Center. The Flames have now won two straight games; Rookie Johnny Gaudreau, named the NHL’s first star of the week earlier today, has five of Calgary’s eight goals in their previous two wins.
ROAD WAYS: The Kings have seen most of their struggles on the road this season, posting a 4-7-5 mark away from STAPLES Center. Before they play seven consecutive games at home that will stretch from January 3 through January 19, they’re on a three-game swing through Western Canada. The Kings’ previous road trip, that carried them through Eastern Canada and the Midwest, saw them post a 1-3-1 record.
LINEUP NOTES: The only thing known for sure from Jon Rosen’s coverage of this morning’s skate in Calgary is that Jonathan Quick, who left the ice first, is projected to be tonight’s starting goaltender. No players remained on the ice for extra work, and Jeff Carter and Marian Gaborik were given the morning off. Jeff Schultz, who grew up in Calgary, and played his junior hockey at the Scotiabank Saddledome, could possibly play in his first game of the season with the Kings tonight.
If Darryl Sutter keeps his lines the same as they were in Saturday night’s win over the San Jose Sharks, they should look as followed:
GABORIK – KOPITAR – CARTER
BROWN – STOLL – WILLIAMS
PEARSON – LEWIS – TOFFOLI
CLIFFORD – RICHARDS – KING
ANDREOFF – NOLAN
MUZZIN – DOUGHTY
MARTINEZ – GREENE
MCNABB – MCBAIN
JOHNNY ROCKETS: Flames rookie Johnny Gaudreau scored three straight goals in a 20:59 minute span against the Kings last Monday night at STAPLES Center to help Calgary overcome a three-goal deficit. On Saturday night against Edmonton, Gaudreau was back at it, scoring two goals in a :16 second span, including the game-winner in the Flames’ 4-1 win over the Oilers. Gaadreau is the second-highest rookie scorer in the NHL this season, registering 29 points (12G, 17A) through 36 games. Can the Kings keep Johnny off the score sheet tonight?
“We know what to expect from him now,” Doughty told NHL.com in regards to Gaudreau. “We maybe underestimated him a little bit in the first game, but not this time. He’s a good player and we’ve got to pay special attention to him. He’s on their top line and we’ve got to shut him down.
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings’ previous visit to Scotiabank Saddledome on April 9 of last season, they overcame a three-goal deficit in the final 24 minutes of regulation, but fell in a shootout, losing 4-3. Prior to that loss, the Kings had won their six previous games in Calgary, dating back to February 5, 2011. Before that, the Kings lost 10 straight games in Calgary, stretching back to March 29, 2006. Can the Kings get back to their winning ways in Calgary tonight?
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE as it returns on 5:30PM PT on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim back for the play-by-play from Scotiabank Saddledome for puck drop at 6:00PM PT.