Los Angeles Hockey: Curtis Glencross

Kings: Looking to make another point vs. Calgary

January, 19, 2012
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.

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Ducks: Not just another must-win game

March, 30, 2011
Ducks (43-28-5, 91 points) vs. Calgary Flames (38-28-11, 87) at Scotiabank Saddledome, 6:30 p.m. PT.

Five storylines to track:

1. Bigger than big – OK, just so we’re clear. There are big games, like the last 30 or so, and there are exceptionally large games, like the one tonight in Calgary. With a regulation victory, the Ducks can climb one more rung in the ladder to sixth in the Western Conference standings with six games remaining. More importantly, they would get six points clear of ninth-place Dallas. Calgary, like the Stars, has 87 points but sits in 10th due to more games played.

2. Creating a buzz – Probably not surprising Teemu Selanne was trending on Twitter not long after posting his 22ndcareer hat trick Monday night in a 5-4 victory against the visiting Colorado Avalanche. Apparently, it’s not every day a 40-year-old scores three goals in an NHL game. The fact is, Selanne is helping the Ducks earn points like no other member of the team…well, maybe Corey Perry. If he continues this torrid pace, get ready to hear a lot more about the Finnish Flash.

3. Diamond in the rough – Another player whose stellar play has been buried beneath the Selanne headlines is goalkeeper Ray Emery. With the win against the Avalanche, he remained undefeated in five starts since joining Anaheim as a free agent in early February, basically as an insurance policy while starter Jonas Hiller deals with vertigo-like symptoms. Emery is turning into a great comeback story himself, battling back from hip surgery that kept him out of the NHL for more than a year and threatened to end his career.

4. Have you seen me? – It’s safe to say the Ducks probably thought they’d get more out of defenseman Francois Beauchemin when they traded for him back in early February. But he clearly isn’t the same player that helped the Ducks win the Stanley Cup title in 2007 before playing the last 1 seasons in Toronto. Beauchemin is minus-five in his last five games and has just two goals and two assists in the 21 games since joining Anaheim.

5. Flame that got away – The Flames haven’t played since rallying from a 4-1 third-period deficit Saturday against Edmonton to win in a shootout, 5-4. Curtis Glencross scored his 23rdgoal of the season in the comeback, further adding to his breakout season. Glencross signed his first professional contract with the Ducks and played two games with the club during the Stanley Cup championship season before he was traded to Columbus for two players who never made a dent in the NHL and a fourth-round draft pick.

Kings: Shootout win vs. Flames, Williams hurt

March, 21, 2011

LOS ANGELES—First, the bad news.

Justin Williams, the second-leading scorer for the Kings, left the game in obvious pain with about 9 minutes remaining in the third period Monday night against the Calgary Flames and the top-line right wing wasn’t around to see his teammates rally for a 2-1 shootout victory at Staples Center.

Williams was checked into the left-wing boards by Calgary defenseman Robyn Regehr and skated slowly to the bench favoring his right arm or shoulder. He sat hunched over on the bench for about 60 seconds before heading to the locker room.

Afterward, coach Terry Murray said Williams suffered an upper-body injury and was “not OK.”

“All I heard is he’ll get to see a doctor tomorrow and have an evaluation and see where he’s at,” Murray.

The Kings, who moved up one spot to fifth in the Western Conference standings, can ill afford to lose Williams for any stretch of time. They’re already struggling to produce offensively, owning just two goals in regulation in their last three games.

After suffering through three consecutive injury-plagued years, Williams was one of eight Kings who had appeared in every game this season, producing 22 goals and 35 assists. He was having his most productive season since 2006-07 with the Hurricanes.

As for the good news, Jonathan Quick improved to 8-0 in shootouts this season, giving up a first-round goal to Alex Tanguay before Rene Bourque hit the post and Curtis Glencross shot wide. In between, Jarret Stoll scored to improve to 7-of-8 on shootouts this season, and Anze Kopitar slipped one through the pads of goalie Mikka Kiprusoff.

“It’s pretty easy when the team scores two out of three,” Quick said. “They’ve been scoring goals all year in the shootout like that and it makes it a lot easier on my part.”

It won't get any easier if the Kings have to continue very long without Williams, one of the few dynamic offensive players on the team. They'll have a couple days to adjust, as they don't play again until Thursday against San Jose at Staples Center.