Clock ticking on Flames' playoff hopes as Kings matchup looms
The Calgary Flames are running out of real estate in their bid to return to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Working overtime hasn't been the answer either.
The Flames are scheduled to play the first of back-to-back games in California when they face the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.
Calgary (31-24-15, 77 points) entered Sunday four points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the final wild-card spot from the Western Conference with 12 games remaining, and they're a mere point in front of the Nashville Predators.
"We have to get every point we can," Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson said. "We have a big trip coming up where we need to get four points."
The Flames are coming off a 6-5 overtime loss to the visiting Dallas Stars on Saturday, dropping Calgary's record to 6-15 in overtime and shootouts this season.
"If you would have a different record and win more, you would have better confidence going into OT," Flames forward Elias Lindholm said. "We're trying, but right now we can't find a way to win in OT. If I had the answer, I would change something, for sure."
The Kings (40-20-10, 90 points) also played beyond regulation on Saturday night and lost 3-2 in a shootout to the visiting Vancouver Canucks.
Los Angeles has earned points in nine straight games (7-0-2) and were tied with Vegas for first place in the Pacific Division standings until the Golden Knights moved back to the top spot by beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-2 on Sunday.
The Kings have also earned points in 10 consecutive home games (8-0-2), marking the sixth time in franchise history they have strung together a double-digit point streak on their home ice.
Los Angeles has continued to pile up points despite playing the past five games without defenseman Sean Durzi (upper-body injury) and the past four without forward Kevin Fiala (lower-body injury).
Fiala continues to lead the Kings with 68 points, and both he and Durzi have combined for eight goals and 29 assists on the power play, which has gone 2-for-14 in the past five games -- as well as 2-for-19 over their past six.
"They're important pieces (on the power play) and they're creative, they're effective, they're dynamic, both of them in their own way," Kings coach Todd McLellan said. "Each of them belongs to a unit, so all of a sudden both units are affected and others are trying to fill in and they're doing a good job. Right now, it's looking for something when we should just be playing it and we'll fix it."
The Kings beat the Flames in overtime the last time they met on Dec. 22, getting a goal from Adrian Kempe to secure the 4-3 victory in Los Angeles. The win was part of a seven-game point streak (6-0-1) that put the Kings on the heels of the Golden Knights.
The Flames are still looking to get on a hot streak this season. They've yet to win more than three games in a row and haven't accomplished that since early December.
Calgary isn't losing hope, however.
"We're big boys in here. We do a good job of keeping the positivity and keeping the confidence high," Calgary defenseman MacKenzie Weegar said. "What are we going to do? Dwell on it and let it crush us? No ... we have to keep going."
--Field Level Media
Updated March 19, 2023