13 Los Angeles Kings 6 + 1.5 (- 130)
14 Calgary Flames – 230 – 1.5 (+ 110)
The new No. 1 goaltender, David Rittich, is coming off a 34-save shutout, and standout offensive whiz Johnny Gaudreau has five points in two games.
The Calgary Flames weren’t happy about their season-opening performance in a 5-3 road loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, but after a 3-0 home victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, they go into a Tuesday home clash with the Los Angeles Kings believing they are on track.
“We’re trying to focus on the little things in the game right now, and when we’re doing that, we’re playing the right way,” Calgary center Sean Monahan said. “That’s when we generate the most looks and put the puck in the net. Right now it’s going well.”
Gaudreau netted one goal and two assists in Calgary’s victory over the Canucks, a game in which Rittich collected his second career shutout.
“No one wants to lose two games in a row,” Rittich said. “It’s the same for us. I’m glad we (won Saturday) and we got the two points.”
Now, the onus is on the Flames, the defending Western Conference regular-season champions, to build off that win against a rebuilding Kings team that is pegged to be near the bottom of the league and is coming off a 6-5 season-opening loss at Edmonton on Saturday.
The Kings, who finished at the bottom of the Western Conference last season, 30th overall in the 31-team league, were smarting after blowing a third-period lead to the Oilers.
“The five goals for our team is something that we’re happy with,” new Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “This team struggled to score in the past, but the six (against) isn’t going to cut it. You look at some of the miscues that we had, whether it was off a faceoff or shooting it into our own net, that has to be cleaned up. So we’ll look at the good, and we’ll try and advance that and obviously work on the defensive side of it.”
Rest assured, the porous defensive play will be the Kings’ focus against the Flames.
“You can’t expect to give up six goals and win the game,” Los Angeles captain Anze Kopitar said. “It’s not going to happen very often. Obviously scoring five goals, that’s encouraging, but at the same time, we’ve got to clean up on the defensive side of things and make sure six was just a case of the first game of the season.”
As much as Tuesday’s clash in Calgary is about the points up for grabs, the game-within-the-game between these clubs always focusses on Kings star defenseman Drew Doughty and Flames super-pest Matthew Tkachuk.
The pair have had some celebrated on-ice battles in the past, and they have made it known their run-ins have become personal. Tkachuk said he doesn’t respect Doughty. Meanwhile, Doughty, the 2015-16 Norris Trophy winner as the NHL’s top defenseman and a two-time Stanley Cup champion, made it no secret on Monday how he feels about Tkachuk.
“We both know who the better player is,” Doughty said after practice. “So, if he wants to compliment me first, I’ll give him one back.”