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'Must-win' territory for Kings tonight in Calgary

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings



KINGS (39-26-15) at FLAMES (44-29-7)

6:00PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 790 KABC

PLAYING WITH FIRE: Tonight marks the fifth and final meeting with the Flames this season; the Kings are 1-1-2 against Calgary. This is the Kings’ final road regular season game; they are 15-17-8 away from STAPLES Center this season. The Flames are finishing a two-game home stand tonight; they’re coming off of a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night. The Kings are finishing a three-game road trip tonight; they’re coming off of a 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.

LINEUP NOTES: The Kings held an optional morning skate at the Scotiabank Saddledome; they held a full team practice on Wednesday afternoon. The lines the Kings skated with on Wednesday showed no changes to the sets they used Tuesday night in Edmonton. Jonathan Quick is expected to start. Mike Richards did not stay on the ice for extra work this morning; it is unclear whether or not he will dress tonight.

GABORIK – KOPITAR – WILIIMAS
KING – CARTER – TOFFOLI
LEWIS – STOLL – BROWN
CLIFFORD – SHORE – NOLAN
(PEARSON – RICHARDS – ANDREOFF)
-----------------------
MUZZIN – DOUGHTY
REGEHR – MARTINEZ
MCNABB – GREENE
(MCBAIN)

PLAYOFF PICTURE: The Kings enter the night with 93 points in the standings, situated outside of the Western Conference’s playoff picture. The Kings are three points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second and final wild-card spot, and two points behind the Calgary Flames for the Pacific Division’s third and final playoff berth. The Kings are the only team without a playoff spot that is still mathematically in the postseason race. Can the Kings stay alive with a win tonight in Calgary?

DO OR DIE: The Kings must win tonight in order to not be eliminated from playoff contention. Along with a win, the Kings could get some help from the Colorado Avalanche, who play the Winnipeg Jets tonight. There are plenty of scenarios at stake – which Jon Rosen delves into in the link below:

SUTTER: “You’ve just got to win a game,” Darryl Sutter told Jon Rosen Thursday morning. “You know what? And you know it, a lot of the questions that get asked, you’ve got to win a game. It’s got nothing to do with anything else. That’s all. You could say we should’ve had a hundred points if we’d have won more shootouts. You could say lots of different things. It’s just about winning a game. I’m not one way or another about it.”

THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings’ previous visit to Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome on December 29, they lost to the Flames 2-1. Calgary took an early lead with first period goals from Curtis Glencross and Markus Granlund; Tyler Toffoli netted the Kings’ lone goal in the final minute of the second period. Jonathan Quick made 13 saves in the loss. The Kings are 2-1-1 when playing the Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome over the course of the past two seasons.

TOFFOLI CASHES IN

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the KINGS LIVE pregame show at 5:30PM PT, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from the Scotiabank Saddledome for puck drop just after 6:00.

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