Perhaps Plenty of Hits in Flames-Kings Saturday but Not Many Goals

Matthew Jordan

Friday, November 9, 2018 2:36 PM UTC

Friday, Nov. 9, 2018 2:36 PM UTC

We are more than a month into the 2018-19 NHL season, and the Pacific Division rival Flames and Kings have yet to play. That changes Saturday night in L.A.

Calgary (9-6-1) at Los Angeles (5-9-1)Saturday, 10 p.m. ETFree NHL Pick: UnderBest Line Offered: SportsBetting

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The Calgary Flames have made the playoffs just twice in the past nine seasons and have one postseason win in that span. They missed out last year in finishing with 84 points. That led to the firing of Coach Glen Gulutzan and the hiring of Bill Peters, who had been Carolina’s coach the previous four seasons. Some questioned that hiring considering the Hurricanes didn’t play extra hockey at all under Peters.

Well, it’s still early but the Flames are one of the surprise teams in the Western Conference as they visit Los Angeles in the second leg of the California Swing on Saturday night. It’s the first meeting of the season between Calgary and L.A.

Calgary isn’t a particularly good defensive team (20th at 3.3 goals per game allowed) or on special teams (20th on power play, 26th on PK), but it is a Top 10 offensive club. One of the best lines in hockey is the Flames’ trio of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm. Gaudreau has 19 points, and Monahan (the league’s first star of last week) and Lindholm 18 each (Lindholm leads the team with nine goals). Six Flames have at least 10 points.

Just not sure if the Flames have enough goaltending. Mike Smith was an All-Star last year but is slipping at age 36 at 5-5-1 with a 3.66 GAA and .872 save percentage. He might lose his job soon to David Rittich (4-1-0, 2.24 GAA, .927 SV).

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Jack Campbell doing everything Jack Campbell can to keep the LA Kings in this game. #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/VK6treQxW0

— LA Kings (@LAKings) November 9, 2018
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No Spark Yet For Kings

The first coach in the NHL fired this year was L.A.’s John Stevens, and the Kings have gone 1-1 under interim coach Willie Desjardins – who probably doesn’t get the full-time job after the year. L.A. won the first game post-Stevens 4-1 at home vs Anaheim on Tuesday but lost 3-1 at home Thursday to Minnesota.

The Kings are last in the NHL in scoring at 2.20 goals per game and their team leader, Ilya Kovalchuk, has only 14 points. His four-game points streak ended Thursday. Only three guys have double-digit points. No. 1 goaltender Jonathan Quick hasn’t played since Oct. 23 due to injury, but he wasn’t good in his four outings this year and backup Jack Campbell has been better. Doesn’t matter with no support.

The Flames and Kings split last season, each winning once at home and on the road. Calgary hasn’t won the season series in L.A. since 2051-16. Gaudreau and Monahan led Calgary with five points each vs. the Kings in 2017-18, with all five of Gaudreau’s points assists. Monahan had three goals. Smith was 2-1-1 with a 2.69 GAA and .917 SV. Dustin Brown led L.A. with seven points vs. the Flames, while Anze Kopitar had six. Jonathan Quick was 1-1-1 with a 2.69 GAA and .921 SV. Darcy Kuemper started and won the other game.

  • Under is 15-5-1 in the last 21 meetings in Los Angeles.
  • Under is 8-1-1 in Kings last 10 vs. Western Conference.

Not a huge opinion on the side here, but we like the ‘under’ for a Saturday NHL pick. The Kings can’t score, and the Flames aren’t quite as explosive on the road as the ‘under’ has hit in their past six away from home.

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