National Hockey League
Flames-Kings Preview
National Hockey League

Flames-Kings Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 12:18 p.m. ET

Darryl Sutter doesn't seem overly worried about the Los Angeles Kings' drop in the standings or his team's recent trend of giving up goals.

The latter has been a season-long problem for the Calgary Flames.

Slumping Los Angeles looks to get back on track in Thursday night's return to Staples Center, where the Flames enter off their worst defensive performance in three years.

The Kings (45-26-5) have lost four of five to fall one point behind charging Anaheim for the Pacific Division lead. They've scored two goals or less in five of the last six games and surrendered 13 over the past three, an uncommon occurrence for a team that's allowed the third-fewest this season.


Los Angeles permitted three unanswered goals in the third period of Monday's 5-2 loss at San Jose, now three points behind the Kings after defeating Vancouver on Tuesday.

"I think we did what we wanted to do for the most part," said an unconcerned Sutter. "We had a good first period, scored a power play goal, we didn't take a penalty until late in the first, we were able to kill it off early in the second. Bounced back after they scored to go ahead against the fourth line. Tie it up, go into the third. That's what you want."

Each of the Kings' last four losses have come on the road, including three to teams on pace to reach the playoffs. They've won three straight and nine of 11 at Staples Center, where they'll play four of their final six regular-season games.

With the postseason still two weeks away, Jonathan Quick has time to work out of a cold stretch. The All-Star goaltender has a 3.47 goals-against average and .874 save percentage in losing four of his last five starts.

Quick does own a 1.62 GAA in his last 17 matchups with the Flames and stopped 45 of 47 shots to help Los Angeles win both previous meetings this season.

Anaheim took over first place with Wednesday's 8-3 drubbing of the Flames, scoring three times in the first 6:51 and building a 5-0 lead 5:30 into the second to record its 23rd consecutive home win in the series, tying an NHL record for the longest streak against a single opponent.

Calgary (32-39-6), which has allowed a league-high 245 goals, yielded its most in a game since an 8-2 loss to Edmonton on April 3, 2013.

''You give them a few freebies from the start, and you know it's going to be a long game," coach Bob Hartley said. "Nothing to take away from the Ducks, but in order to beat them you need a few saves here and there."

Hartley has been able to count on Joni Ortio of late. The 24-year-old Finn had 24 saves in Monday's 5-2 victory at Arizona that opened this four-game trip and stopped 23 of 25 shots Saturday against Chicago.

Ortio, 2-1-1 with a 1.97 GAA over his last four starts, recorded 35 saves in a 2-1 loss in Los Angeles on Feb. 23.

The Flames hope to have leading scorer Johnny Gaudreau back after he missed a second straight game Wednesday with an upper-body injury.


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