There won’t be many mysteries between the Kings and Calgary Flames tonight, and that has little to do with the Sutter vs. Sutter coaching matchup. These teams met only five days ago in Calgary, although the Flames are expected to have a bit of a different look. They’ll have forward Matt Stajan and defenseman Scott Hannan back, but they’ll be without injured forward Curtis Glencross. It’s a meaningful game, in terms of playoff positioning. The Kings are in seventh place in the Western Conference while the Flames are in 12th. A Flames regulation win would close the gap between the teams to five points, while a Kings regulation win would push it to nine points. Willie Mitchell said he expects an even tougher game than the one the Kings faced in Calgary on Saturday.
MITCHELL: “It was a really good game, and I think they’re going to be a much better team this time around. They’ve got some guys back, off injuries. Hannan is going to help settle things down for them on the back end. He has played a lot of games in this league. I think we might see Stajan back. So they’re starting to get some experience back in the lineup, and obviously Cammy is in there, and it always takes a few games for adjustments, so I would expect another hard game, just like every other game is in the NHL. They’re fighting to stay alive in the playoff race. If you get too far back, it’s a tough road back. You’ve got to get to the eighth-place team, and sometimes you have ninth and 10th in front of you, also trying to do the same thing.
“It’s tough. As you can see, we’ve been on a pretty good run and we really haven’t made that big of a move in the standings. So it’s the same things for these teams that are on the outside currently, looking in. They look at games against us as important games to get back in it. It’s a four-point swing. And we look at it the other way, like we have to distance ourselves from teams. So we expect another hard game, no different from the rest.’’
Darryl Sutter said he was not particularly concerned with the changes to the Flames’ lineup…
SUTTER: “They’ve still got their goaltender and they’ve got an awesome defense and they’re really good up the middle. I’m not really worried about the individuals, more than positions.