This is the first of three meetings between Los Angeles and Calgary this season. After tonight, the two teams will meet for consecutive games at Staples Center on Saturday, March 9 and Monday, March 11.
Lots more after the jump…
Calgary is 2-2 against the Pacific Division, defeating Dallas twice while losing to Anaheim and Phoenix.
Los Angeles is 2-1-1 against the Northwest Division, defeating Vancouver and Edmonton while losing to Colorado in regulation and Edmonton in overtime.
Calgary is coming off a 4-0 loss at Phoenix on February 18, the seventh game following goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff’s Grade 2 MCL sprain. The Flames are 3-3-1 with Kiprusoff out of the lineup, and though their goals against per game ranks 28th in the league at 3.43, they have allowed 3.71 goals per game in his seven-game absence.
33-year old Joey MacDonald will draw the start for Calgary. He earned the win in his only career start against Los Angeles as Detroit erased a late deficit with two third period goals en route to a 4-3 win over the Kings at Joe Louis Arena on March 9, 2012, the last game before L.A. rattled off six wins in a row. He stopped 21 of 24 shots in that game. MacDonald posted the best numbers of his career while backing up Jimmy Howard a season ago, going 8-5-1 with a 2.16 goals against average and .912 save percentage. In addition to another Detroit stint, he has also appeared with Boston, the New York Islanders and Toronto. He saw the most action in 2008-09 when he appeared in 49 games, making 46 starts, for the Islanders. This will be his Scotiabank Saddledome start; he earned the victory in a 4-3 win at Dallas on February 17 and played 56 minutes to spell Leland Irving while assuming the loss in a 5-2 defeat to St. Louis in Calgary on February 15.
Los Angeles is expected to go with Jonathan Bernier in net. Bernier made consecutive starts for the first time since January 15 and 17, 2011 when he backstopped the Kings to wins in St. Louis and at home against Columbus last Monday and Friday. Bernier has made one career start against Calgary, stopping 29 of 31 shots in a 3-1 road loss to the Flames on October 10, 2010.
Following tonight’s game, Los Angeles will play 13 of its next 16 games at Staples Center. The Kings have played a league-low four home games.
Rankings and Statistics:
Goals/Game: LAK – t-25 / 2.29; CGY – 11 / 2.79
Goals Against/Game: LAK – 15 / 2.57; CGY – 28 / 3.43
Power Play: LAK – 24 / 14.5%; CGY – 3 / 26.0%
Penalty Kill: LAK – t-19 / 80.6%; CGY – t-28 / 72.9%
Shots/Game: LAK – t-11 / 29.9; CGY – 7 / 30.4
Shots Against/Game: LAK – 2 / 24.9; CGY – t-9 / 27.6
Faceoffs: LAK – t-18 / 49.5%; CGY – 23 / 48.3%
Projected Lines – Los Angeles
Dustin Brown – Anze Kopitar – Justin Williams
Kyle Clifford – Mike Richards – Jeff Carter
Dwight King – Jarret Stoll – Dustin Penner
Jordan Nolan – Colin Fraser– Trevor Lewis
Keaton Ellerby – Drew Doughty
Rob Scuderi – Slava Voynov
Jake Muzzin – Davis Drewiske
Notes: Keaton Ellerby has seen his time on ice fall for three straight games and struggled against Edmonton’s speed. He averaged 37 seconds a shift against the Oilers, the lowest average in the game. Drew Doughty may see several defensive partners throughout the game, even in even strength play. After Rob Scuderi (3:31), Davis Drewiske saw the most penalty killing time at 2:49. As always, line pairings are educated assessments and not definite alignments.
Projected Lines – Calgary
Mike Cammalleri – Alex Tanguay – Jarome Iginla
Jiri Hudler – Roman Horak – Roman Cervenka
Curtis Glencross – Matt Stajan – Lee Stempniak
Blake Comeau – Steve Begin – Tim Jackman
Mark Giordano – Jay Bouwmeester
Dennis Wideman – TJ Brodie
Chris Butler – Derek Smith
Notes: Mike Cammalleri, Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla were a combined minus-six in Monday’s loss to Phoenix. Dennis Wideman leads the team with 25:12 average ice time. As always, line pairings are educated assessments and not definite alignments.