Flames-Kings Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 20, 2013

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 31: Anze Kopitar #11 of the Los Angeles Kings skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on January 31, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. The Kings defeated the Devils 3-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Anze Kopitar's regular-season goal drought has reached 20 games, but the Los Angeles Kings insist they aren't worried. The Kings remain confident in Kopitar, who has a team-high eight assists heading into Monday night's home matchup against the Calgary Flames. Los Angeles (6-3-0) is off to a solid start despite receiving no goals from Kopitar and Mike Richards. The two centers, however, have combined for 13 assists. "Our strongest part of the team is down the middle," right wing Justin Williams said. "They do so many other things other than score, and they've certainly had a lot of chances." Kopitar showed his worth Saturday, assisting twice on goals by Williams and once on a tally by Drew Doughty in a 5-2 home win over Dallas. He had three goals in last season's playoffs, but hasn't scored in the regular season since a 5-4 win at Chicago on March 25. "I really don't look at it like that," coach Darryl Sutter said. "From your side it's about that, right? Goals. It's not. It's about winning hockey games." The Kings have gone 17-2-0 in their last 19 home games, including the postseason. "We want to be a hard team to play against," Doughty said. "We don't want teams to be coming into Staples (Center) and thinking it's an easy night. We want it to be hard for them." Los Angeles outscored Calgary 12-4 in sweeping three meetings a season ago. Dustin Brown had three goals and an assist, while Kopitar had one goal and two assists in those games. The Kings have killed off the opposition's previous 14 power plays and are at 89.2 percent on the penalty kill for one of the league's best marks. The Flames (3-2-2), in contrast, are an NHL-worst 69.6 percent against the power play after allowing three goals in nine chances in Saturday's 6-3 defeat at San Jose. "I don't think that's a recipe for success, it's a recipe for disaster," coach Bob Hartley said. Calgary's first six games were all decided by one goal before the club was outshot 36-19 by the red-hot Sharks to fall to 0-2-0 on their current five-game trip. "It's all stuff we can fix but it's pretty frustrating and it's disappointing because it's two games in a row that we could have won and we got zero points out of it," left wing T.J. Galiardi said. The Flames have been led this season by Jiri Hudler, who has a team-high nine points with at least one in every game. He'll likely take aim at Jonathan Quick, who has started eight times this season and whose 1.52 goals-against average against Calgary is his best against any Western Conference club. Hartley will choose between Joey MacDonald or Karri Ramo in goal. MacDonald started five straight games before Ramo made 30 saves Saturday.
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