Preview: Flames vs. Kings
The Los Angeles Kings have lost once in regulation since Darryl Sutter took over as coach last month. A visit by the Calgary Flames could help the Kings pick up even more points.
Los Angeles looks to extend its point streak to six when it faces a Flames team trying to snap its longest road skid in five seasons Thursday night.
Since replacing the fired Terry Murray, who was dismissed Dec. 12, Sutter has led the Kings (23-15-9) to an 8-1-5 record. Los Angeles, seventh in the Western Conference with 55 points, capped off a 2-0-1 trip with a 3-2 shootout victory over Vancouver on Tuesday.
The Kings, 3-0-2 in their last five, had 15 first-period shots after managing six apiece in the opening 20 minutes against Calgary and Edmonton in the first two stops of the trip.
"We certainly had the start we wanted (with Dustin Penner's first-period goal)," said right wing Justin Williams, who recorded his third goal in five games and scored in the tiebreaker. "We got the first goal, we played with the lead and I thought we were due in the shootout, so we finally got one there."
The Kings are hoping for another quick start as they try to push their winning streak against the Flames (21-20-6) to five.
Los Angeles' 4-1 victory Saturday snapped Calgary's eight-game home win streak as Sutter - the Flames' former coach and general manager - and his brother Brent, Calgary's coach, coached against each other for the first time.
Forward Michael Cammalleri, who played for the Kings from 2002-08, will face Los Angeles for the third time this season and second with Calgary. Playing his first game since being re-acquired from Montreal last Thursday, Cammalleri beat Jonathan Quick for his 10th goal of the season Saturday.
Cammalleri, who recorded career highs of 39 goals and 82 points for the Flames in 2008-09, and Jarome Iginla both missed in the shootout in a 2-1 loss at San Jose on Tuesday. However, Iginla was pleased with how the team competed to open its three-game trip.
"It was one of our better efforts," he said. "We could have had a win tonight but unfortunately the puck didn't go in the net for us. I thought we worked hard and were creating.
"It's still an important point and a big step in the right direction as far as the way we want to play on the road."
The Flames have scored nine goals during their six-game road losing streak. It's the team's longest skid away from home since an 0-3-4 stretch Jan. 26-Feb. 22, 2007.
Los Angeles has won the last three at home against Calgary by 2-1 margins, the most recent one decided in a shootout March 21.
Quick, who made 29 saves in Calgary last weekend, has posted a 1.44 goals-against average while playing each game of the Kings' winning streak against the Flames.
Miikka Kiprusoff has recorded a 2.17 GAA in those four contests, but Calgary has managed six goals during that stretch.
The Flames' ability to score Thursday could be impacted if Curtis Glencross - the team leader with 18 goals - can't play. He left Tuesday's game with a lower-body injury.
Kings leading scorer Anze Kopitar capped off the team's three-goal second period Saturday with a power-play goal. He is tied with Williams with a team-high seven points since Los Angeles' last regulation loss Jan. 7.
The Kings last won two straight Dec. 26 and 28.