Kings vs. Flames Preview
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Looking to win seven in a row for the first time in more than five years, the Flames will try to extend their home winning streak over the Kings to 11 on Saturday night.
Calgary (26-21-6) extended its road point streak to seven Thursday with a 4-2 victory over Atlanta. The win moved it into a three-way tie with Chicago and Los Angeles (28-22-2) for eighth place in the Western Conference - three points behind fourth-place Nashville.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Flames -120 money line favorites for Saturday's game against the Kings. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 62% of more than 152 bets for this game have been placed on the Flames -120.
The Flames have earned at least a point in 11 of 12 contests.
"We have to keep this going,'' said defenseman Mark Giordano, who has a goal and four assists during the winning streak. "There are some big conference games coming up. We're finding ways to win close games.
"We've been a good team all year. We feel like we have a strong team. Now is the perfect time to move up in the standings.''
A four-game homestand appears to give the Flames a great opportunity to do so. Calgary has outscored opponents 14-6 while winning three in a row at the Saddledome, and it has been far more dominant on home ice versus Los Angeles, holding a 39-16 edge in goals while winning the last 10 times the Kings have come to town.
"It's been a very hard building for us to come in and play in,'' coach Terry Murray told the team's official website following Thursday's practice. "They've got a team that digs in and are gritty. They play a way, in here, that we've had problems with.
"It's real important for us to continue on with the game we showed in the third period (Wednesday against Edmonton). We've got to continue to build and play a solid game here Saturday.''
Los Angeles, trying to deny Calgary its first seven-game win streak since an 8-0-0 stretch from Nov. 1-16, 2005, plays the third game of its 10-game trip following a 3-1 victory over the Oilers.
After going 1 for 28 on the power play over the previous 10 games, the Kings were 2 for 4 with the man advantage, with defensemen Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson playing a major role in the improved special teams play.
Johnson, who scored at even strength in the third period, set up both of Doughty's power-play goals in the second.
"Our power play has been lacking of late," said forward Ryan Smyth, who was originally credited with Doughty's goals before the league reviewed video. "It's something that can win or lose you hockey games..."
The Kings went 0 for 3 on the power play in a 3-1 loss at Calgary on Oct. 10. They have not converted any of their 24 chances with the man advantage in their last six road games versus the Flames.
Improving in that area could be difficult against Miikka Kiprusoff, who has a 1.60 goals-against average while starting each time during the Flames' home winning streak in this matchup.
Jonathan Quick, who turned away 26 shots in a 2-1 victory over the visiting Flames on Dec. 9, could make his first appearance at the Saddledome this season. He has gone 4-0-0 with a 1.47 GAA in his last four starts.