Flames G Smith to start against Kings

CALGARY, Alberta — A solid outing in practice on Thursday has earned goalie Mike Smith the nod in net for the Calgary Flames against the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night.

“Outstanding today,” said Calgary coach Bill Peters in regards to Smith’s effort in practice. “He’s going to start (Friday) against L.A.”

Although Smith stopped 28 of 29 shots he faced to backstop Calgary to a 6-1 road win over the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday, it was David Rittich who was in the net for the Flames (14-9-2) on Wednesday at home when they lost 4-3 in overtime to the Dallas Stars.

Smith’s positive attitude in practice — despite his less-than-stellar 6-7-1 record to go with a 3.29 goals-against average and a .883 save percentage — has earned him a shot to get back between the pipes to build on his last outing.

“Over the last couple weeks, I’ve gotten a lot of good work in,” said Smith on Thursday. “I’m feeling comfortable in the net and it’s just about going out there and doing it in a game. Definitely Arizona was better and something to build off, and I’m excited to get back in there and help this team.”

His solid showing on Thursday, albeit in non-game action, has given Smith another measure of confidence heading into Friday’s game.

“It starts in practice, really,” he said. “If you’re lacking confidence, you gain it in practice. That’s how it goes. If you’re feeling good, you want to keep that going. I’ve always been a believer in how important practice time is and how it can transfer over into games. That goes without saying: You want to make saves, whether it’s in practice or games. It’s contagious, so you want to keep it up.”

While the Flames had Thursday night off, the Kings (9-15-1) were in action in Edmonton against the Oilers in search of their first three-game winning streak of the season.

Instead, Edmonton defenseman Oscar Klefbom scored with 2:20 remaining in the third period to lead the Oilers to a 3-2 win to avenge a 5-2 road loss they suffered against the Kings four nights earlier in L.A.

Dustin Brown and Jeff Carter scored for L.A. on Thursday, while goalie Jonathan Quick made 31 saves in his return to action for the Kings after missing the past dozen games with a lower-body injury.

“It sucks,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty told Fox Sports West after the setback. “We really gave it our all. We played with a lot of heart and emotion and that’s what you want from your team. If we play more games like that, we’re going to get more wins.”

In Quick’s absence, rookie netminder Cal Petersen filled in nicely as he compiled a 4-3-0 record to go with a 2.46 GAA, a .927 save percentage and one shutout. Since the Kings are playing games on back-to-back nights, it’s likely that Petersen will get the start on Friday against the Flames.

“It’s about the team game,” Doughty said. “We’ve got to go into Calgary (on Friday) and get a win, so that’s all we’re focused on.”