The Flames will get ashot at redemption in front of the home crowd tonight when the Kings visit the 'Dome (6PM MT, Sportsnet West) who spoiled the Canucks' party last night with a 2-1 shootout victory in Vancouver.
Needless to say the local boys will need to be on the ball tonight if they hope for a better result against a club similarly fast and young to the Oilers squad that trounced them the other night . That means staying out of the penalty box against a club that finished the season ranked seventh in the league in powerplay efficiency, operating at 20.8%. The Flames dedicated the majority of their practice session yesterday to special teams, which was an obvious deficiency in Thursday's loss, and the PK could potentially get a boost from the return of Craig Conroy, who returns to the lineup tonight in place of Raitis Ivanans (unofficial concussion).
The Flames were essentially behind the eight ball right from start against the Oilers, so a better start will likely be key to any potential victory; this team shouldn't have to rely on Kiprusoff to keep them in the game for forty minutes every night, and getting behind early followed by defensively reckless attempts to tie the score only increase the odds of that happening. The team needs to be better in all three zones tonight, and its difficult to say which gets priority. Gaining the offensive zone and generating sustained pressure, and for more than portions of one period, is probably a good place to start, especially for the team's top two lines, who are being counted on to not only be a consistent scoring threat, but provide the majority of the team's offence.
Lines and pairings are the same for the Flames as far as I'm aware, with the exception of Conroy drawing into the lineup, while Daymond Langkow, David Moss, and Matt Stajan practiced today in yellow no-contact jerseys. For the Kings, defencemen Matt Greene is set to re-join the lineup upon his recovery from a shoulder injury.
The Flames were victorious in three of four games against the Kings last season, and tonight's contest represents an opportunity to not only continue that trend, but also to get the much talked about return to home ice supremacy off to a good start. Let's hope they make the most of it.