Kings-Flames Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 27, 2012
With both teams sitting just outside the Western Conference playoff picture, Wednesday night's matchup between the visiting Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames could go a long way in determining who gets in and who's left out. The Kings (37-27-12) and Flames (35-27-15) are among five teams within two points of one another battling for the final two postseason berths in the West. Los Angeles and Colorado are tied for ninth place with 86 points, one behind Dallas and Phoenix. The Kings, though, have a game in hand on the Coyotes and two on the Avalanche and are just two points behind first-place San Jose in the Pacific Division. The Flames are in 11th place with 85 points, and with just five games remaining, find themselves in desperation mode. Things seemed to be falling apart for Calgary, which had gone 0-2-3 over its previous five games before picking up a much-needed 5-4 win over Dallas on Monday. Michael Cammalleri scored and added two assists in the Flames' four-goal second period. "We need to win, as the only chance for us to get in might be to win these next five games," said forward Alex Tanguay, who also scored. "We're going to put our best effort in and hope that the out-of-town scoreboard is going to be favorable to us as well." Calgary, 5-0-1 over its last six home games, understands the magnitude of Wednesday's matchup. "We're going to give it our all, there's no holding back," Tanguay added. "We want to be in. We've worked so hard for the past two months, played some very good hockey. Haven't been as lucky as we'd like to be, but maybe this luck will come our way the last few games." After outscoring the Kings 39-16 during a 10-game winning streak on their own ice, the Flames have gone 0-1-1 in their last two home meetings in the series - including a 4-1 defeat Jan. 14. Calgary, however, has since held Los Angeles to a combined one goal at in winning the two most recent matchups - both at Staples Center. The Kings are coming off a pair of losses, falling 4-2 to Boston on Saturday and 1-0 to Vancouver on Monday in the opener of a four-game trip. Los Angeles outshot the Canucks 38-25. "It was a hard game for us ... you could see there wasn't a lot of energy in our game," coach Darryl Sutter said. "We were doing everything right. A tough one." Jonathan Quick made 24 saves, dropping to 3-4-1 with a 2.95 goals-against average over his last eight road starts. Quick is 5-4-1 with a 1.67 GAA lifetime versus Calgary. Miikka Kiprusoff, who has started all but one of the Flames' 37 home games, made 35 saves Monday. He turned away 28 shots in a 1-0 win at Los Angeles on Feb. 18, improving to 19-8-3 with a 2.02 GAA versus the Kings. Leading the Kings with 65 points, center Anze Kopitar has just two goals and two assists in his last 13 games against Calgary. Cammalleri spent the first five seasons of his career with Los Angeles and has five goals and three assists in nine matchups against his former team. He scored the game's lone goal Feb. 18.
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