CALGARY, AB --
Coming into Saturday's matchup, the Calgary Flames and the Los Angeles
Kings are tied with 58 points apiece.
The Western Conference playoff picture is so tightly bunched, making this game seem magnified in importance but the team isn't viewing it as anything more than another game.
"All of these games are big games," said head coach Brent Sutter. "We're not going to change our approach and our philosophy as to how we've doing things. It's still important for us to continue to achieve our goals.
"Because we've gotten ourselves back into this thing now, it doesn't mean that all of a sudden, we're going to stray from that. You stay with what has allowed you to have success and continue to keep that focus. We're taking it a game at a time, we're working on our goals that we need to continue to work on. That doesn't change. Our mindset inside that dressing room hasn't changed."
With the two teams neck-and-neck, the Flames are expecting a very tight game. That being said, they are confident in their abilities to ensure they come out of these close battles with at least a point.
"We're finding ways to win those games and not put ourselves in bad situations like we seemed to be doing at the start of the year," Regehr said. "That's been a key part of turning our season around and getting back into the playoff race."
Niklas Hagman is still on the shelf with undisclosed injury so recently recalled Lance Bouma
will play in his first NHL game.
"I'm really excited," Bouma grinned. "I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to come here and help the team in whatever way I can."
Known for his gritty, crash-and-bang style, head coach Brent Sutter believes the 20 year-old winger will help energize his club.
"He's an up-and-down guy who is going to compete extremely hard," he said. "What I like about him is that he's a very intelligent player. He understands the game. He's been a well-coached player for a young guy.
"The other thing is that he can skate, he can move. He's not afraid to get into traffic areas."
The Scotiabank Saddledome has been less than kind to the Kings over the years. Los Angeles has dropped 10 consecutive games in Calgary with their last win dating back to Dec. 21, 2005.
"It's been a very hard building for us to come in and play in,'' Kings head coach Terry Murray told the assembled media earlier this week. "They've got a team that digs in and are gritty. They play a way, in here, that we've had problems with."
Jonathan Quick will get the start in net for the Kings. The young netminder comes into tonight's tilt riding a hot streak, winning his last four starts. He stopped 32 of 33 shots in the Kings 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night.
The Kings power play has had issues over the past month, going 1-for-28 with the man advantage. The coaching staff opted to switch up their top unit in Edmonton this week and it paid off mightily. Blueliners Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson played the point and the team went 2-for-4 against the Oilers. The pair played a key role in this as both power play markers came from Doughty scoring after taking a pass from Johnson.
The Flames are aware of this alteration but their penalty killing over the past six games has been exceptional. They are 19-for-20 when down a man, giving them a .95% success rate. Regehr said the team just needs to stick to what they've been doing lately when it comes down to shutting down the Kings on the power play.
"At the start of the season, it was very inconsistent but we've been doing a lot better job of that lately. If we're consistent, we'll be fine."