Thursday, January 19, 2012
Kings: Looking to make another point vs. Calgary
By Dan Arritt
Kings (23-15-9, 55 points) vs. Calgary Flames (21-20-6, 48 points) at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.
Five storylines to track:
1. Ties that bind: In eight of 14 games since Darryl Sutter was hired as head coach, the Kings have been tied with their opponent at the end of regulation. They’ve also scored 105 goals this season and given up 105. In the last 10 games, they’ve won five and lost five. With a victory against the Flames, they’ll have just as many wins as their combined losses in regulation, overtime and shootouts. The good thing is, they’ve come a long way from where they stood a month ago. Ties mean points, too, and the Kings have earned at least one in 14 of the last 15 games.
2. Them again: The Kings played Calgary five days ago in the first meeting between Sutter and his younger brother, Brent Sutter, the coach of the Flames. The result was a solid 4-1 victory by the Kings, the third straight game they scored four or more goals. Calgary, meanwhile, has scored just two goals in two games since trading for high-scoring forward Michael Cammalleri. All signs point to a Kings’ victory. Will they follow the right path?
3. Goalie guesswork: It probably came as a bit of a surprise that All Star goalie Jonathan Quick played in all three games on the Western Canada swing that concluded Tuesday night with a 3-2 shootout victory in Vancouver. Quick has started the last four games overall. With the Kings beginning a four-game home stand, it seems the right time to give backup Jonathan Bernier the nod. Bernier's two starts under Sutter came after Quick had started four in a row. Then again, if Sutter’s looking at the numbers, Quick has a stellar 1.84 goals-against average in eight career starts against the Flames. Bernier has faced Calgary just once in his career.
4. Earning their stripes: Defenseman Slava Voynov and third-line center Andrei Loktionov, the young Russians who failed to make the team out of training camp, are sinking their claws deeper into permanent roles with the organization. Though neither is scoring goals at the rate expected, should they stick around a couple of more years, they’re playing a mature brand of mostly mistake-free hockey. They’ve been most impressive with their crisp puck movement in hairy situations.
5. Glencross hurt: The Flames suffered another key injury Tuesday in a 2-1 shootout loss in San Jose. Curtis Glencross, who leads the team with 18 goals, suffered a left knee injury and has reportedly returned to Calgary to have the knee examined. Two other forwards on injured reserve, Brendan Morrison (upper body) and Matt Stajan (ankle), are reportedly on the trip and may need to step in and fill Glencross’s spot in the lineup.