Kings-Flames Preview

The Los Angeles Kings are unbeaten entering the final stop on a four-game road trip, which could prove to be the most challenging of the stretch.

They've struggled against Calgary the last two seasons, and the Flames are looking to close out an impressive December on Thursday night as they've started to turn their season around.

While the Kings (23-11-2) won 5-2 over Edmonton on Tuesday and have outscored opponents 14-5 in the last three games, the Flames (17-17-2) fell 1-0 to Anaheim and saw their franchise-record 11-game home winning streak come to an end.

Even so, Calgary has gone 9-3-0 following a three-game skid to end November. Tuesday marked the first time the high-scoring Flames failed to earn at least a point when allowing fewer than three goals, and they were limited to a season-low 14 shots.

"It is frustrating," captain Mark Giordano told the team's official website. "We were right in the game the whole game. We were in a little bit of a rut in the second (period) when we couldn't get through the neutral zone, and they got the majority of chances. In the third, we evened it out, but you've got to give them credit, they played a good road game."

While players such as Johnny Gaudreau were cooled off - he'd scored five goals in his previous two games - the Flames have also started to play at least to a manageable level in their own zone. They allowed 3.58 goals per game through November, and with a 2.50 mark in December, have pushed their season average down to 3.22 - though that's still tied with Arizona for the highest in the NHL.

Karri Ramo has been a big part of the improvement, posting a 1.90 goals-against average in a 5-3-0 span after going 8-8-1 with a 3.06 mark prior. He faced the Ducks and will again be in goal against Los Angeles as Calgary concludes a four-game homestand. Ramo is 3-0-0 with a 1.86 GAA in four career games against the Kings.

The Flames are 7-3-0 in their last 10 in the series with three straight home wins, but Los Angeles is in position for its first four-game road winning streak of the season.

The run is the Kings' most productive three-game stretch offensively - home or away - all season, with back-to-back five-goal efforts after they reached the mark once in their first 34 contests.

Those came on two straight nights, with Dustin Brown and Trevor Lewis each scoring with two assists against the Oilers. Dwight King also had a goal and an assist in his season debut on a line with Brown and Lewis after missing nearly half of the season with a broken foot.

"I think we play to each other's strengths," King said. "Probably a forechecking line is how you'd describe us and we're hard on pucks. We were rewarded tonight for our opportunities which was nice to see, but I just like to compete and battle to get pucks and throw them to the net."

Tyler Toffoli also scored and has six goals and an assist in his last four games, while Anze Kopitar has recorded a goal and six assists on the trip.

The scoring has taken some pressure off Jonathan Quick, but things haven't necessarily been easy. He faced 44 shots against the Oilers, marking the third time in seven games he's seen at least 42.

Quick has won all three of those and has posted a 1.89 GAA in an 11-2-1 span. However, he's won once in his last six games against the Flames with a 2.59 mark.


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