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Preview, Game Day #37: Los Angeles Kings @ Calgary Flames

2015 is almost over. Let's all rejoice with a dumb game against a bad hockey team.

fall into the new year
fall into the new year
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Kings @ Calgary Flames

Time: 6:00 Pacific

TV: Fox Sports West, NHL Network US, Sportsnet One, Sportsnet 360

Enemy ReadingMatchsticks and Gasoline

Los Angeles Kings

Lucic-Kopitar-Toffoli
Pearson-Shore-Gaborik
King-Lewis-Brown
Mersch-Andreoff-Nolan

McNabb-Doughty
Muzzin-Martinezy
Forbort-Ehrhoff

Quick
(Enroth)

Scratched: Weal, McBain Injured: Carter, Clifford, Greene

Calgary Flames

Gaudreau-Monahan-Hudler
Ferland-Backlund-Colborne
Bennett-Granlund-Jones
Bouma-Stajan-Bollig

Giordano-Brodie
Russell-Hamilton
Wideman-Engelland

Ramo
(Hiller)

Injured: Frolik

Stats & Such
(Fancy stats courtesy War on Ice)

Team Kings Flames
Record 23-11-2 17-17-2
Points 48 36
Division Rank 1st
5th
Streak Won 3
Lost 1
Goals For/Game 2.72 2.67
Goals Against/Game 2.25
3.25
ES Goal % 52.3 45.0
ES Shot %
53.8 49.0
ES PDO 99.6
98.6
ES Corsi % 56.3
47.4
ES Fenwick % 55.7 48.2
ES Scoring Chance % 55.5 48.9
ES High-Danger SC % 52.9
49.3
Power Play % (Rank) 19.0 (16th)
12.6 (30th)
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 82.9 (7th)
74.7 (30th)
Starting Goalie (tonight) Quick Ramo
Goalie Record 20-9-1 13-11-1
Save % .921 .908
ES Save % .931
.917

Notes:

  • Hi friends, it's time to say goodbye to 2015 and the LA Kings are here to help! Let's just get this out of the way first: screw 2015. Seriously, what a crappy year on almost every level. A lot of the reasons why are beyond the scope of this blog (read a newspaper) but even if you want to just focus on the Kings and the silly game they play, this was the year the Kings saw their Stanley Cup defense end before the playoffs even started. So yeah. Screw 2015.
  • At least the portion of 2015 that's part of the 15-16 season has gone a lot better for the Kings, who will enter the new year with a very strong lead in the Pacific Division no matter what happens tonight. Following Tuesday's thrashing of the Oilers, the Kings currently sit with a ten-point lead in the Pacific. 2nd place San Jose has 38 points in 36 games, so there's not even a games-in-hand situation here. The Kings just flat out have a double-digit point lead in the division, nearing the halfway point of the season. That's pretty damn cool, and I think something no one would have predicted before the year started. Of course, it helps that every team not named the Kings are having a down year, but the Kings still have the 4th best record in the entire NHL, so it's not like they aren't playing great too.
  • Meanwhile, the Calgary Flames are having exactly the kind of down year you would probably expect them to if you paid any attention to their underlying numbers last year. It really is pretty simple with the Flames: they've gone from shooting 8.7% at evens to 8.1%, which is still great but not quite good enough to mask their other issues (30th on the PP and the PK certainly doesn't help either). Their possession numbers are actually better than last year (they went from a 45.8% Fenwick at evens last year to 48.2%, still not good or anything but certainly a big improvement) but they've also gotten horrendous goaltending (their .905 even strength sv% is the worst in the league, and quite a bit worse than last year's middling .922) and it's all added up to a .500 record. Their full-season even strength PDO last year was 101.0; this year, it's 98.6 so far. Regression is the mistress of us all.
  • Anyway, with all that said they're probably going to win this game. It's the Kings' third game in four nights which never really goes well. They looked gassed a lot of the night in Edmonton and were lucky to be going up against Cam Talbot's horrendous goaltending. Of course, working in their favor is that Karri Ramo is the likely starter tonight and has been just as bad this season, so who knows.
  • As far as the Kings' lineup goes tonight, that's my best guess. Morning skate had McBain and Weal staying on the ice for workouts with Enroth, so that would imply we're getting Ehrhoff back in the lineup after a few games off but Forbort has done enough to stay in the lineup. This is probably the optimal usage of our current defense corps so that's certainly a good thing. It also sounds like Carter probably won't be in the lineup as he didn't take part in line rushes, but Dwight King returning on Tuesday was a shocker so I guess you never know.
  • PREDICTION: Flames win 4-0 as one final reminder that 2015 was Bad. See you in 2016!!!