Saturday, February 5, 2011
Kings: Hoping to cool off the Flames
By Dan Arritt
Kings (28-22-2, 58 points) vs. Calgary Flames (26-21-6, 58) at Scotiabank Saddledome, 7 p.m. PT
Five storylines to track:
1. The Flames are blazin’ – The Calgary Flames are the hottest team in the NHL, owning a record of 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. They’ve won six straight for the first time since 2008, scoring 23 goals in that span. This is one of those four-point games you hear a lot about this time of year, as the winner will take the lead over the loser in the Western Conference playoff race. Both teams enter Saturday one point out of eighth place.
2. House of horrors – If it’s not enough of a challenge playing the hottest team in the league, the Kings will play in an arena where they haven’t won in more than five years, a span of 10 games. That’s right, 0-10. Not even a point. The Kings have been sitting in Calgary since Thursday, even while the Flames finished a two-game road trip Thursday night in Atlanta. Hopefully, they had a chance to see a witch doctor and do something about breaking this spell.
3. Dynamic duo – Kings fans have been crying for Jack Johnson to team up with Drew Doughty on the first power–play unit and they finally got their wish Tuesday in Minnesota and again Wednesday in Edmonton. Johnson and Doughty teamed up on a pair of power-play goals in the 3-1 victory against the Oilers. The goals were originally credited to Ryan Smyth on deflections off slap shots from Doughty, but the NHL awarded the goals to Doughty the next day because Smyth never touched the pucks.
4. Paying hit man –Dustin Brown announced Friday that for every hit this season he’ll donate $50 to the Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Brown has 194 hits this season so that’s $9,700 in the piggy bank. Good thing Brown isn’t donating money for goals. He hasn’t scored in the last 11 games and has one goal in the last 17. Fellow first-liner Anze Kopitar has been equally snake bit, scoring one goal in the last 18 games.
5. Red-hot Flame – The hottest player for Calgary isn’t Jarome Iginla, Rene Bourque or Alex Tanguay, but rather Brendan Morrison, who has four goals and three assists during the six-game winning streak. Morrison, who played part of the 2008-09 season with the Ducks, hasn’t had this long of a point streak since scoring in nine straight in late 2003 while playing for Vancouver.