Can Kings avoid getting burned again?
It’s been an odd season for the Calgary Flames. They enter tonight’s game in 14th place in the Western Conference, and haven’t won consecutive games since late October — a rut they will be trying to break out of tonight — yet they still look like a dangerous team. Perhaps that’s attributable to the way they have played the Kings in recent years. Since the end of the lockout, the Flames have a 16-4-1 record against the Kings, and they are 8-1-0 against the Kings in their last nine meetings, having allowed only 12 goals in those nine games. It’s no wonder why Terry Murray spoke with such reverence about the Flames this morning…
MURRAY: “I watched their last two games, and they played very well. That was against Chicago and against Tampa Bay the other night. They played well. They’re a real hard team. They played with tempo, with pace in their game. They put pucks on the boards, that make it difficult for you to go back under pressure as a defenseman to break the puck out. So you have to have great support right away. There needs to be three, immediately low, to break the puck out. Their goaltending is very good. He can win a game himself, on any given night, so we’re going to have to make sure we’re just executing properly, getting pucks to the net. But the big key is what we’re going to do in our own end. We’ve had trouble against those guys in our D-zone coverage, in our breakouts and our puck-possession plays, because of their reads and their quickness to recover back over top. You just have to make the right decision on a consistent basis.
“They’ve got a real top group of defensemen back there, I think, as good as anybody in the league as a six-man group. So their personnel is pretty good, and they have some guys up front — Iginla, Jokinen — those guys are very capable of making a big play all by themselves. They’re so powerful and strong and have great speed, great shots. They can make something out of a little bit of space, so our checking mentality has got to be very good.”