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Calgary misses first chance to clinch playoff berth with 4-1 loss to L.A.

by TY PILSON @typilson /

The Flames were unable to clinch a playoff spot in their first try, falling 4-1 to the L.A. Kings Wednesday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Calgary needs just one more victory to punch their card to the post-season.

Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter scored in the third to break open a tight and penalty-filled affair between the two clubs.

Trevor Lewis and former Flames captain Jarome Iginla also scored for the Kings while Dougie Hamilton tallied for the homeside.

Brian Elliott made 29 saves for Calgary while at the other end, trade-deadline acquisition Ben Bishop turned away 25 pucks for L.A.

It was the fourth of five matchups between the clubs this season. They will meet again one final time on April 6 at the Staples Center.

It was a spirited affair thanks to some bad blood between the teams, as had been anticipated, after Matthew Tkachuk was suspended for two games for a hit on Drew Doughty the last time the teams met back on March 19 at the 'Dome.

During the warmup, a group of Kings and Flames gathered near where Tkachuk was stretching and exchanged words which set the tone to start the game.

Tkachuk looked to get involved early just 25 seconds into the first, dropping the mitts with Kings defenceman Jake Muzzin, who didn't oblige. Tkachuk got tagged with two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play.

Just two-and-a-half minutes after that right off the faceoff, Tkachuk and Brayden McNabb did fight sending both off with majors.

Later at the 9:42 mark, it was Deryk Engelland and Iginla's turn for a dustup, with both players throwing a bevy of blows and landing some big shots.  

With all the stoppages, the first period took nearly 50 minutes to play.

The game's opening goal came off a fantastic rush, with Johnny Gaudreau gaining the zone before making a drop pass to Sean Monahan just inside the blueline. Monahan feed Hamilton cross-ice who drove the net and tried to go forehand/backhand but the puck slide wide but was deflected back in front of the net where Hamilton got two more whacks at, the second pushing the puck past Bishop.

Lewis evened the game up when a Derek Forbort point shot hit his leg in the high slot and deflected past Elliott.

The second period was also testy, with the Kings Andy Andreoff going after Tkachuk and getting tossed from the game near the midway point of the stanza.  

With just 45.8 seconds left in the second period, Iginla got credit for a goal that was accidentally knocked into the Calgary net by a sprawling Mark Giordano.

Kopitar converted a one-timer in the third to put the Kings up by two before Carter tapped in a setup from Iginla.

NOTES: The Flames have a 25-17-1-2 record versus the Western Conference this season and they are 12-10-1-2 against the Pacific Division … Flames captain Mark Giordano needs just one more goal for 100 in his career.

NEXT UP: The Flames host the San Jose Sharks Friday night (7 p.m., SN, Sportsnet960 The Fan).


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