The Los Angeles Kings (18-12-5) have a chance to extend their win streak to four games tonight against the Calgary Flames (15-12-6). This would tie their current season-high win streak and go a long way in putting their inconsistent label behind them.
Darryl Sutter's Flames team will come with a few familiar faces. Including Trevor Lewis, Tyler Toffoli and Milan Lucic.
Puck drops at 7:30.
We've heard the term "identity" a lot this season. And the Flames have a clear identity that will be familiar to Kings fans. They're big, physical and a nightmare to play against. They want to make the opposition's life difficult and wear them down. And with a few elite talents up front, like Jonathan Huberdeau and Elias Lindholm, they have enough firepower to hurt you.
However, unlike last season, their identity hasn't led to many wins. An offseason filled with movement has had the desired effect on Calgary, as they sit fifth in the Pacific Division.
Unlike Calgary, the Kings have struggled to find their identity all season but Todd McLellan is hopeful that issue is behind them.
"I'd like to think that," McLellan said on moving past the run-n-gun mentality. "I'd like to think we're a little more aware of the track meet style game, from a defensive style, I'd like to think we are."
A big focus this morning was on the power play. Which, like the team overall, has been up and down all season. They started slow, had a torrid eight games where they couldn't stop scoring, and are back down right now.
"We were running really hot (on the power play) for a while," said McLellan. "And that rate is unsustainable, you go hot and cold for a little bit, but that rate we were scoring at isn't sustainable or it would have been an NHL all-time record. Since that hot run, we've played quite well in those situations and created momentum for our group. They're not always gonna be Picassos but I thought the other night against Anaheim, in particular, once we got on the power play we got a little more momentum out of it and gained some steam. It provided us what with we needed."
A strong performance on the power play will be difficult against the Flames, whose penalty kill sits sixth in the league.
It will be a tightly contested battle at even strength based on the numbers. The Kings hold a slight advantage in expected goals percentage, while the Flames hold the advantage in possession. What this game might come down to is the performance in net.
It's been an inconsistent season for Flames starter Jacob Markstrom this season, who's currently posting an .893 save percentage with 4.4 goals saved above expected according to moneypuck.com.
Pheonix Copley gets his fifth straight start in net tonight. Copley has brought stability in net for the Kings, posting a .913 save percentage and 1.3 goals saved above expected. Another solid performance with above a .900 save percentage and positive goals above replacement from Copley will leave the Kings confident in a win.
Only one change is expected to the Kings lineup, with Sean Walker expected to replace Jordan Spence based on morning skate.
Los Angeles Kings Lines:
Kevin Fiala-Anze Kopitar-Adrian Kempe
Alex Iafallo-Phil Danault-Trevor Moore
Arthur Kaliyev-Blake Lizotte-Viktor Arvidsson
Jaret Anderson-Dolan-Rasmus Kupari-Gabe Vilardi
Mikey Anderson-Drew Doughty
Sean Durzi-Matt Roy
Alex Edler-Sean Walker
Calgary Flames Expected Lines, Per PuckPedia.com:
Dillon Dube-Elias Lindholm-Tyler Toffoli
Jonathan Huberdeau-Nazem Kadri-Milan Lucic
Andrew Mangiapane-Mikael Backlund-Blake Coleman
Adam Ruzicka-Trevor Lewis-Brett Ritchie
Noah Hanifin-Rasmus Andersson
MacKenzie Weegar-Chris Tanev
Nikita Zadorov-Michael Stone
Los Angeles Kings Power Play: 29-126, 23.02%, 15th in NHL
Los Angeles King Penalty Kill: 35-122, 71.31%, 27th in NHL
Calgary Flames Power Play: 22-112, 19.64%, 23rd in NHL
Calgary Flames Penalty Kill: 24-127, 81.10,%, 6th in NHL
Los Angeles Kings Pre-Game Notes:
- Anze Kopitar sits four points shy of 1,100 in his career. Only two LA Kings skaters have eclipsed 1,100 points in their career with the Kings: Marcel Dionne (1,307) and Luc Robitaille (1,154).
- Pheonix Copley’s first career NHL win came against the Calgary Flames on Oct. 27, 2018. Copley stopped 27-of-30 shots, and three of four shootout attempts, to lead the Washington Capitals to a 4-3 SO victory over the Flames in Calgary.
- Alex Iafallo registered his third goal of the season Tuesday night against Anaheim. His second-period goal stood as the game-winning goal, the 11th of his career.
- Viktor Arvidsson (121) has the fifth-most even-strength goals among 2014 NHL Draftees, sitting behind David Pastrnak (168), Leon Draisaitl (161), Nikolaj Ehlers (132), and Brayden Point (122).
- Six of Sean Durzi’s seven goals have come at Crypto.com Arena
How to Watch:
TV: Bally Sports West, ESPN+; Radio: iHeartRadio