Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 61 @ Calgary
February 27, 2014
6:30pm PST (9:30pm EST)
A night after pulling off an impressive comeback in Denver, the Los Angeles Kings are right back to work as they travel to Calgary for a Thursday night tilt with Flames. But despite their 22-29-7 record this season, the Flames did enter the Olympic break going 6-3-1 in their last 10. Plus, they have yet to lose to the Kings this season.
Thursday night will mark the third of five meetings between the Kings and Flames but the first at the Saddledome. After beating the Kings at Staples Center on Octpber 21 in the final minute of the third, the Flames earned another two points in the same building on November 30 as they won thanks to a last-minute goal by Mike Cammalleri. But while this game won’t be held at Staples, the Kings will welcome back netminder Jonathan Quick after representing the United States in Sochi for the last couple of weeks.
After trailing 4-2 against Colorado on Wednesday, it was the silver-and-black’s two leading scorers who led the comeback charge. Anze Kopitar scored twice and added an assist while Jeff Carter, in addition to an assist, tipped in the tying goal that paved the way for his team’s surge in the third.
As for the Flames, this will be the first game back from the Olympic break. Whether they come out firing or rusty is obviously unknown at this point but either way, the Kings should prepare for a tough test considering their luck against the Flames thus far, especially in the final minute of regulation.
While the Kings look a bit different since they did last time they met them, the Flames will also have a different look entering Thursday’s contest.
Goaltender Joni Ortio and center Markus Granlund will each be making their NHL debuts against Los Angeles. The two Finns have each had successful stays with the AHL’s Abbottsford Heat and Thursday will be the first test of how they do at the next level.
In 50 AHL games this season, the 20-year-old Granlund has 23 goals and 21 assists. As for Ortio, 26, he is the top rookie netminder in the A this season. He’s 20-6-0 with a 2.22 goals-against average and a save percentage of .926.
Of course knowing the Kings’ luck, Ortio’s debut will be a career game – but we’ll see.
This should shape up to be a great matchup. While the Flames look to kick off their post-Sochi schedule on a high note, the Kings only look to continue on their late success from Wednesday. We’ll see how everything unfolds.
Enjoy the game!