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FLAMES READY FOR 'FOUR-POINT' GAME

Tonight's match-up against the LA Kings will have big implications in the standings

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson / CalgaryFlames.com

Every game is important.

With the level of parity in the NHL, every outing is significant.

However, in saying that, there is no doubt tonight's tilt against the Los Angeles has more riding on it than say, an October date against an Eastern Conference opponent.

The Flames hold the first Wildcard spot in the Western Conference with a 33-26-4 record and 70 points. But that position is far from secure.

Sitting in the second Wildcard spot are the St. Louis Blues with 67 points and nipping at their heels are the Kings, who have 65 points through 62 skates.

Simply put, tonight is a four-point game for the two divisional rivals.

"These are exciting games. You play a lot of games every year and they're all important, you don't look past any but you know when there is a little bit extra on the line with where teams sit in the standings," Matt Stajan said. "We're an excited group and we're ready for the challenge. We're finally back home and we want to continue what we've been doing. It will be a great one for us to hopefully get on a roll here on home ice.

"Everybody just has to step up. We played these guys earlier in the year and they really gave it to us. We've got four games against them coming up. We know what kind of team they are. We've played them a lot the last bunch of years, they're in our division.

"We know what we need to do but at the same time, everybody has to step up and give a little extra so we can find a way to win."

While the Kings are 3-6-1 in their last 10 skates, they have making a push late in the month of February to get themselves back in a postseason position. They are 2-1-1 in their last four games and will be looking to avenge a tough 5-4 overtime loss last night in Minnesota.

Disrupting their north-south, aggressive style of play will be key for the Flames this evening.

"It's easier said than done against LA … no one thinks they're fast but they play fast because they know exactly where the puck is going," Glen Gulutzan explained. "They're always advancing it forward, they're not a an east-west team, they know exactly what their roles are. They play fast and they're heavy and we all know that. The thing with us is we've got to play them fast back the other way because I think we can use our speed.

"We have to get on top of them and not let them get their grind game going."

NOTES: Tonight is the Flames' You Can Play Night, which will feature players using Pride Tape in warm-ups and will be running public service announcements throughout the evening. Stajan is the Flames' You Can Play ambassador and is thrilled the league is working with You Can Play during Hockey Is For Everyone Month. "You have the guys who are the amassadors but at the end of the day, it's all 700+ players ... the NHL is doing a great job with creating awareness and showing that people anywhere and everywhere can play this game and will be welcomed. It's a great thing."

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