I really do wish there were manufactured story lines hanging around this game tonight like there was before the first contest of the season between these two teams. It's not that I like that kind of stuff, it's just got to the point with the Flames and the Kings that both teams are so bland it's hard to find things to talk about.
The hiring of Darryl Sutter in LA hasn't looked to have changed much within the scope of this season-the Kings are currently clear of the 9th place Flames by a mere two points and regulation loss tonight would drop them to 9th. Of course, there are still twenty-something games left, so there's lots of time for that narritve to be beaten to death.
Of all the players on the Kings this season, the one having the most disappointing year has to be Mike Richards. Los Angeles' big acquisition in the off-season has struggled to the tune of 28 points (14 goals and 14 assists) and a -18.1 Corsi Rel. His PDO is even a little inflated, at 1012. It is only fair to point out that RIchards plays the 4th toughest minutes among forwards, but the three guys ahead of him (Simon Gagne, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown) hold respective Corsi Rels of 6.4, 12.3 and -0.2. Richards also happens to be killing my fantasy team. Dammit.
The Flames look to continue their run of "awful-play-yet-still-generating-points", as they've gone 4-0-3 in their last seven. The lines will look mostly the same, because there really isn't any way to change them right now. I've personally been very pleased with Mike Cammalleri's play at centre with two fourth liners flanking him. For the Flames to continue their push to the playoffs, all they have to do is continue to be lucky until some of the injuries start to heal. Should be easy, right?
Players To Watch
Alex Tanguay-Tangs has been killing it since he came back from injury. Just a smart, smart player.
Dustin Brown-That guy is a real fucker.
Personally, I would like to see the shots against reduced but that's probably not going to happen with 8 replacement-level players suiting up tonight. Who knows with this team anymore.