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Flames inch closer to clinching playoff berth

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

Those are going to be two of the hardest point for us to get on the season and we know that. We have to get ourselves ready. That's a Game 7 for us on Thursday and hopefully we can seal the deal here on home ice.Matt Stajan

CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames are one win away from clinching a berth in the playoffs for the first time in six years, and it can come at the expense of the defending Stanley Cup Champions.

A Flames win against the Arizona Coyotes coupled with a Los Angeles Kings loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, has Calgary within two points of punching their ticket into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“There are so many things going on. You never know,” said goaltender Jonas Hiller, who made 22 saves against Arizona. “At the end, we’ve got to win one of those last two games. I’d rather win on Thursday and we can go to Winnipeg knowing we’ve made the playoffs.

"It’s going to be a tough game. They have their backs against the wall too fighting for their lives. It’s going to be a big match-up. I think everybody is excited about it.”

Calgary and the Kings meet Thursday at Scotiabank Saddledome.

A Flames win against Los Angeles would punch Calgary’s ticket to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. A win in regulation would eliminate the defending Stanley Cup Champions from postseason play completely.

“Coach (Bob Hartley) said that many teams wrote us off at the beginning of the season,” Johnny Gaudreau said. “We wanted to make sure in our locker room that we knew ourselves that we could be a playoff team. We’re just trying to prove it throughout the whole season.”

At 95 points, Calgary is two clear of the Kings with two games remaining for both clubs.

Calgary holds the regulation and overtime wins (ROW) tie-breaker over Los Angeles, forcing the Kings to finish ahead of the Flames in points.

But finishing ahead of the defending Cup Champions won’t be easy.

“Obviously it's great to be in this position, but we've still got a lot of work to do,” centre Matt Stajan said. “Those are going to be two of the hardest point for us to get on the season and we know that. We have to get ourselves ready. That's a Game 7 for us on Thursday and hopefully we can seal the deal here on home ice.”

A victory in either of the Flames' final two games, Thursday versus the Kings or against the Winnipeg Jets in Calgary’s regular season finale on Saturday, would be enough to book a date in the opening round of the playoffs.

Calgary, as Hiller pointed out, control their own playoff fate.

“I think it’s great that we still have it in our own hands and to have that chance,” Hiller said. “In the end you have to beat LA or worst case, Winnipeg. I think Winnipeg is playing really good right now. LA, we’ve proven we can win against them and we’ve just got to do it again.”

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