Brent Sutter wants more emotion from the Calgary Flames after an embarrassing loss. He may also needs a new strategy with his leading scorer Rene Bourque(notes) hurt and the Los Angeles Kings missing Ryan Smyth(notes).
The Flames may be without Bourque on Saturday as they try to continue their domination of a Kings team that is trying to recover from the loss of Smyth.
Consecutive losses have ended Calgary’s momentum after it went 5-0-1 in the previous six games. A 7-1 defeat to Chicago on Thursday night was particularly tough, and Sutter was angry afterward.
“It’s too casual. I don’t like it. I am not used to it,” the coach said. “Get upset. Get upset with each other.”
While it’s up the players to take his message to heart, Sutter has to worry about the potential loss of Bourque. The right wing, who has seven goals and 14 assists, took a hard hit against the Blackhawks and left with an undisclosed injury.
Bourque scored three goals in his last two games against Los Angeles (13-8-2), helping Calgary (12-6-2) sweep last season’s four-game series. The Flames outscored the Kings 49-27 in winning 10 of the last 11 meetings.
Los Angeles has been much better than it was last season, but Smyth’s upper-body injury could leave the team without one of its major contributors for perhaps a month.
“He’s one of the key guys on our team, for sure, but that doesn’t matter right now,” Kopitar said. “He’s going to be gone for a month, and somebody else is going to have to step up. We’re just going to have to play hard without him and try to win games. We’re all going to miss him, but his injury is not going to be healed tomorrow.”
Los Angeles hasn’t disclosed the nature of Smyth’s injury. He was hurt in a 4-3 win at Florida on Monday night and the Kings announced the severity of the injury prior to their 3-2 loss to Philadelphia two days later.
This is the first real dose of adversity Los Angeles has faced this season. The Kings, trying to end a six-year playoff drought, are third in the Western Conference with 28 points.
Frolov, with four goals and 12 assists in 22 games, was held off the scoresheet in three of his last four home contests.
Los Angeles has lost two straight at Staples Center after going 5-0-1 in its previous six games there.
Calgary plays eight of its next nine on the road, where it is 6-1-2. The Flames have gone 4-0-1 away from the Pengrowth Saddledome since a 2-1 loss at Columbus on Oct. 13.