NHL

Kings-Flames Preview

The Calgary Flames needed a win against the Stanley Cup champions this past week to stop a season-worst skid and rejoin the playoff conversation in the Western Conference.

After earning that key victory over Los Angeles, the Flames and Kings get a rematch Monday night in Calgary.

The Flames (19-15-3) opened with 17 victories in 27 games, highlighted by a four-game win streak from Nov. 26-Dec. 4. However, the fast start quickly dissipated as Calgary followed the streak with an eight-game slide in which it was outscored 26-13.

The slump ended Dec. 22 when Johnny Gaudreau scored twice with under three minutes remaining and Mark Giordano netted the overtime winner in a 4-3 victory over the Kings. Calgary followed that with a 4-1 win over Edmonton on Saturday.

"It started with a big win in LA and they're going to be ready to play against us and want some revenge," Joe Colborne said to Calgary's official website. "It's going to be a tough game tomorrow and a big physical battle ... The Kings, they have one of the top teams in the league still. It's always a good challenge."

Gaudreau has been a revelation for the Flames this season. The 21-year-old rookie ranks second on the team with 12 goals, six coming in his last three games. Calgary is 8-0-0 when he records two or more points and 8-9-0 when he is held off the scoresheet.

"I'm pretty excited about getting the chance to score some goals," said Gaudreau, who won the Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA's top player in his final year at Boston College. "They weren't coming throughout the first 20, 30 games of the season. I was kind of off to a slow start, but it's nice to see the puck going in the net."

Los Angeles (18-11-7) rebounded from last week's loss to Calgary with a 3-1 win against San Jose on Saturday behind another strong performance from Anze Kopitar.

Kopitar had a goal and an assist to give him 12 points in his last five games. He had managed only 13 through the season's first 28 contests.

"It's coming along right now," Kopitar said to Los Angeles' official site. "It seems like we are making some good plays, and we are getting some opportunities. It seems like we are building up the chemistry and getting to know each other's small details on the ice, that's why we are creating chances."

Tyler Toffoli also scored Saturday to break a personal 10-game goal drought. He is tied with Marion Gaborik and Tanner Pearson for the team lead with 11 goals.

Jonathan Quick figures to make his seventh consecutive start in net for the Kings on Monday as they kick off a three-game Canadian trip. They'll also visit Edmonton and Vancouver before returning Jan. 3 to open a season-high seven-game homestand.

Quick, who is 9-5-3 with a 1.73 goals against average against Calgary in his career, will be opposed by Jonas Hiller. Hiller owns a .934 save percentage in his last six games.

The Kings are 6-0-1 over their last seven trips to Calgary.

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