It appears we’re in for a tight one.
The 6-6-2 Flames have decided six of their last eight games by one goal. We won’t get into the results of those games. It’s not relevant.
The 10-6-1 Los Angeles Kings? They’ve decided their last five games by one goal. The most recent four have been wins.
Much like the game against the Jets, the Calgary Flames enter tonight’s game with far more inferior recent team statistics. Particularly on defence. Let’s look at both teams’ most recent week of work.
Since November 7
This more or less underlines the notion that we’re in for a game decided by one goal. That 1.33 puts the Kings in third in the NHL over that time. They’ve clearly gotten back to the tight-to-the-belt style that got them to within a game of eliminating the Edmonton Oilers in round one in last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.
And, while it’s nice to see that LA has finally managed to get their arms around playing to their team identity, it’s still a work in progress for Calgary.
Turning the Corner —LA Kings
Oct 28-Nov 13
That 6-1-1 record is good for 5th place over that time. In other words, it took about a month, but LA has woken up.
Calgary, on the other hand, well, we don’t need to look at statistics all day. Looking into their recent past wouldn’t be relevant. Especially something like:
“Hey now, the Flames were 1-5-2 in the time that the Kings were 6-1-1.
This isn’t a place for negativity like that.
Let’s focus on the Oilers for a second.
Four losses in their last six. Tied with the… (checks notes) Canucks for third worst defence in the month of November at 4.29 goals against per game. The second worst penalty kill in the league in that time at 60%. Now they’re starting to roll out McDavid on the PK. Surely that won’t burn him out by the stretch drive.
OK. Let’s consider our palettes cleansed.
One more? Fine.
Jack Campbell Since October 29
Got a bit off track there, but there was a segway for that penalty killing point — that may be the key to the game tonight against the Kings. Despite their solid defensive numbers, the Kings have killed penalties at a 62.5 success rate. That’s getting close to Oilers-bad.
The catch here is that the Flames aren’t exactly world beaters on the powerplay. So far this November, they’re tied for worst in the league with — the Philidelphia Flyers.
Worst Powerplay in the NHL — November 1-13
Who would have thought that 18 and a half years after their coaching battle in the Stanley Cup Finals, John Torterella and Darryl Sutter would be duking it out for worst powerplay in November of 2022?
While most of this is ado about nothing, we can settle on the fact that the Calgary Flames are in a state of flux. They just played their best game of the season, and most of these statistics wont help, but they are fun to look at.
Rooney sits. DeSimone replaces Mackey. Projected lines courtesy of Pat Steinberg. @Fan960Steinberg
That 9.1% in November powerplay has gotten a shakeup. Here are the units they most recently
practiced with. Ruzicka gets a shot on the second unit. Lucic goes net front on the same unit.
The Backlund Bump
We finally get to see Jonathan Huberdeau on a line with Backlund and Lewis. It seems the best fit given Backlund’s tenacity on transition plays and acumen for puck retrieval. It would be nice to see:
The explanation lies in that Coleman didn’t have his strongest performance against the Jets. Pierre-Luc Dubois drew two minors on him and he was later fined for slew footing. Four points in 14 games isn’t up to his standards offensively either.
LA Kings lineup courtesy of Zach Dooley at lakingsinsider.com
. Quick gets the start.
Puck drops around 6:40pm mst. Catch the game on Sportsnet in Canada and Bally Sports West in the States.
Stats via naturalstattrick.com and nhl.com.