Kings Roster Notes: (IN) Jonathan Quick; TM is holding steady with the same roster all around. (OUT) Sturm (knee), Parse (hip), Westgarth (healthy scratch).
Flames Roster Notes: (IN) Miikka Kiprusoff (22-18-2, .902 SV%, 2.71 GAA); LW Lance Bouma makes his NHL debut. (OUT) Niklas Hagman, Daymond Langkow, and Raitis Ivanans (poor soul) are all out with injuries. Hagman's is a bigger mystery to me than the whereabouts of Carmen Sandiego -- they didn't even oblige with the usual upper- or lower-body pabulum.
The Flames have won six straight; the Kings have gone 4-0-1 in their last five. To the victor goes a toehold on a playoff spot.
Much has been made of the Kings' lack of wins in the Saddledome lately. I say, so what? It can be important if you let it be. These teams have split the season series in two low-scoring games: a 3-1 victory (the last goal an empty-netter) for the Flames in October, and a 2-1 victory for the Kings at Staples Center in December. They came out flat in their last outing in Alberta, owing in part to the fact that they'd played the season opener in Vancouver the night before, but the score was still close. Screw history, screw location: this one is winnable.
In both matchups, the winning team had more shots. Special teams' contributions are also magnified: Calgary has gone 2/8 on the powerplay and also added a shorthanded goal; the Kings have gone 1/9, with Kopitar's lone goal coming in their win. Let's hope this retro Doughty-Johnson power play continues to click.
Now, Kings: please start a new tradition and win tonight! Brad Richardson, Laura Linney and I all feel strongly about this. Yes, we do.