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Calgary Flames at Los Angeles Kings game preview: Go for the season series

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The road trip - all games against other Pacific Division teams - is going really well. Halfway through the season, the division is tight and there's a playoff spot on the line, so this is yet another must-win.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Calgary Flames are currently in the midst of a five-game Pacific Division road swing. Three of those games are in the books. They have two things in common: Joni Ortio started all three, and he won all three. We'll see if that pattern keeps up, as the Flames are in Los Angeles tonight, where they play the Kings. They've already beaten the Kings twice this season: first, a natural Johnny Gaudreau hat trick, the first of his career, forced overtime after being down 3-0; Mark Giordano ended it as overtime was coming to an end. Then a week later, two quick goals by Curtis Glencross and Markus Granlund were all Jonas Hiller needed to work on, as they defeated the Kings 2-1. A win tonight would give the Flames the season series victory for the second straight year.

But before that: the Flames were north a touch to play the San Jose Sharks. They got off to an excellent start thanks to Dennis Wideman and Joe Colborne goals (and Colborne's in particular was a beauty). When the Sharks came back to score three straight, Jiri Hudler calmed things down, and Sean Monahan quickly ended things in overtime. And as just mentioned: Ortio picked up his third win in three starts. | RecapStatsBoxscore | Nice:

As for the Kings, a shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks has them tied with the Flames, points-wise. This is where we shake our fists at the loser point, because without it, the Flames would have an eight point lead on them. The loser point is dumb.

Anyways. L.A. lost a one-goal lead late in the third period. The game went to shootout, and since the last time the Kings scored a shootout goal was on Nov. 12, they, uh, lost. They've only won two games this calendar year, actually: a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks, and a 2-0 shutout over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Other than that, it's just been close losses.

Want to read more on the Kings? Head on over to read our Kings friends' work at Jewels From The Crown. They're good, smart people who seem to be annoyed at the Flames' recent success over them. I love you guys~

Game time: 8:30 p.m. MT because California is terrible

Channel: SN

All-time record: The Flames have really been winning against the Kings lately, resulting in a pretty good increasing all-time record: 127-97-21-4. The goal differential? A +99 for the Flames. A win gets that into the triple digits. Go triple digits! Go major outscoring of another franchise over a couple of decades!!

Common threads: Robyn Regehr: still a Kings defenceman, but still injured. Darryl Sutter: still the Kings coach (and not their GM, so... probably no silly trades incoming).

Approaching milestones: Game number 595 for Mark Giordano tonight, on the ever-going quest to 500.

Meanwhile, Kings defenceman Jamie McBain, should he draw in tonight, is one point away from 100 on his career. There's... no need for that milestone to be reached if he plays.

Current records and leaders

Calgary Flames Los Angeles Kings
24-18-3: 51 points 20-14-11: 51 points
Pacific Division: 4th Pacific Division: 5th
Western Conference: 8th Western Conference: 9th
Time on ice
Defence: TJ Brodie (25:06 per game)
Forward: Sean Monahan (19:24 per game)
Defence: Drew Doughty (29:20 per game)
Forward: Anze Kopitar (19:15 per game)
Points
Goals: Jiri Hudler (14)
Assists: Mark Giordano (28)
Points: Jiri Hudler
Mark Giordano (39)
Goals: Marian Gaborik (15)
Assists: Anze Kopitar
Drew Doughty (24)
Points: Anze Kopitar (35)
Shots
Shots on goal: Sean Monahan (114)
Shooting percentage: Matt Stajan (20.0%)
Shots on goal: Drew Doughty (122)
Shooting percentage: Marian Gaborik (19.5%)
Faceoff Leaders
Sean Monahan (50.0%, 995 taken) Jeff Carter (55.8%, 599 taken)
Grit
Penalty minutes: Brandon Bollig (40)
Hits: Lance Bouma (146)
Blocked shots: Kris Russell (135)
Penalty minutes: Kyle Clifford (45)
Hits: Dustin Brown (125)
Blocked shots: Alec Martinez (81)
Corsi/Fenwick (minimum 1/2 team's games played)
Corsi for%: Mark Giordano (47.5%, 45 GP)
TJ Brodie (47.1%, 45 GP)
Fenwick for%: Josh Jooris (49.8%, 31 GP)
Johnny Gaudreau (48.1%, 44 GP)
Corsi for%: Trevor Lewis (59.3%, 36 GP)
Jake Muzzin (58.5%, 39 GP)
Fenwick for%: Trevor Lewis (60.0%, 36 GP)
Jake Muzzin (58.2%, 39 GP)


Possible starting lineups

Calgary Flames
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Johnny Gaudreau Mikael Backlund Jiri Hudler
Lance Bouma Sean Monahan David Jones
Mason Raymond Markus Granlund Joe Colborne
Brandon Bollig Matt Stajan Paul Byron
Left Defense Right Defense
Mark Giordano TJ Brodie
Kris Russell Dennis Wideman
Ladislav Smid Deryk Engelland
Goalies
Joni Ortio
Jonas Hiller

Los Angeles Kings
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Marian Gaborik Anze Kopitar Justin Williams
Dwight King Jeff Carter Nick Shore
Dustin Brown Jarret Stoll Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford Mike Richards Jordan Nolan
Left Defense Right Defense
Jake Muzzin Drew Doughty
Brayden McNabb Matt Greene
Jeff Schultz Alec Martinez
Goalies
Jonathan Quick
Jean-Francois Berube


Unsure if the Flames' lines will change at all, or at least their starting lineup. It seems really odd that Smid-Engelland would be the bottom pairing when healthy, though; especially because both defencemen are the same type of player (big, physical, not necessarily mobile or good) and there's very little upside to keeping them paired together.

Also:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Doesn&#39;t look like Drew Shore is going to play against his brother, Nick, tomorrow. He can still be sent down without having to clear...</p>&mdash; Derek Wills (@Fan960Wills) <a href="https://twitter.com/Fan960Wills/status/556947492190031872">January 18, 2015</a></blockquote>

<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>...waivers, and with Josh Jooris looking like he&#39;s close to being ready to return, they are going to have to send SOMEONE down when he does.</p>&mdash; Derek Wills (@Fan960Wills) <a href="https://twitter.com/Fan960Wills/status/556947962463793152">January 18, 2015</a></blockquote>

<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Unclear what they're thinking of doing with Granlund, in that case; familiarity with the Flames organization may be giving him the upper hand.