Tough at Home
Calgary, Alberta - The Los Angeles Kings haven't had to venture out on the road much this season, having played just three of their first 19 games outside of California.
A visit to Calgary, where they've won once in their last 11 games, doesn't figure to be a trip that Los Angeles is looking forward to.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Calgary -165 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 50% of bets for this game have been placed on Calgary -165 (View NHL Bet Percentages).
The Kings open their first Canadian trip of the season Tuesday against the Flames, who've won six of their last eight home games but will need to rebound from a late meltdown in their most recent contest.
Los Angeles' early schedule has been heavy with home games, as the club has played 14 of its 19 contests at Staples Center. One of the road games was a short drive to Anaheim to face the Ducks, and another was up the coast in San Jose.
The Kings (8-8-3) went 15-22-4 on the road last season, and have dropped three of their first five this season. They've long struggled at the Pengrowth Saddledome, losing five straight and going 1-6-3 with two ties in their last 11 games there.
In the Flames (11-9-1), Los Angeles will be facing a club that has again been one of the NHL's tougher teams at home this season, going 7-3-1 at the Saddledome. Calgary is 81-27-15 there over the last three seasons.
The Flames, though, allowed three goals in the final nine minutes to Detroit at home Saturday night, breaking a 2-2 tie and giving the Red Wings a 5-2 victory.
Coming off his second shutout of the season, Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff made 32 saves but allowed four goals - the ninth time in 20 starts he's allowed at least that many.
The Flames were also held to two goals or fewer for the seventh time in 10 games. The start of that stretch coincided with the end of a six-game winning streak, and Calgary is 4-6-0 during that span.
"We have to look at it that we have to play that much better in order to beat a team like Detroit or San Jose, any of those top-tier teams," defenseman Robyn Regehr said. "We need more from everyone, and when you do make little mistakes and you lack a little bit of consistency ... teams like that with those type of players can really hurt you."
Coming off a season in which they managed a Western Conference-low 71 points, the Kings don't fit into that category. They had been showing improvement, winning four straight from Nov. 6-13, but have since lost three of four and fell 4-3 in a shootout to Colorado on Saturday.
Los Angeles erased a 2-0 deficit and took the lead on Dustin Brown's goal early in the third period, but allowed the tying goal less than 3 minutes later and ended up settling for one point.
"You look at that game, and we obviously didn't play as well as we would have liked in the second or the first. But we battled back, and that's the key thing," said Brown, the team leader with eight goals. "A shootout loss is a shootout loss, but it's a good point."
Goalie Erik Ersberg has been a bright spot for the Kings during their inconsistent start. Since Los Angeles' 3-2 home loss to Calgary on Nov. 1, Ersberg has started nine straight games and ranks among the NHL leaders with a 2.05 goals-against average.
Ersberg has never faced Calgary, while Kiprusoff is 10-5-1 with a 2.55 GAA against the Kings, including 6-1-0 in his last seven starts.
Los Angeles will play Tuesday without forward John Zeiler, who was suspended three games for a hit on the Avalanche's Adam Foote on Saturday.
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