LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Matthew Lombardi's rookie season with the Calgary Flames
has turned out better than even he anticipated.
Lombardi scored the tying and go-ahead goals and linemate Martin Gelinas had
a goal and an assist as the Flames beat Los Angeles 3-2 Friday night, sending
the Kings to a franchise record-tying 10th straight loss.
``I had no idea I would score this much,'' said Lombardi, whose third
multigoal game of the season raised his total to 16. ``I just wanted to come
in, get a chance to play and help the team win.''
Robyn Regehr had two assists, and Miikka Kiprusoff made 13 saves for the
Flames, who clinched their first playoff berth in eight years on Wednesday.
With a league-leading 1.69 goals-against average, Kiprusoff has a chance to
break the NHL record set by Dallas' Marty Turco last season (1.72).
Calgary coach Darryl Sutter wouldn't answer when asked if he would rest
Kiprusoff on Sunday at Anaheim to guarantee him the record.
Jeff Cowan and Eric Belanger scored less than six minutes apart in the first
period for the Kings, who also dropped 10 straight during the 1983-84 season.
``Obviously, you never want to part of a losing streak, but it's not so much
the streak as it is losing that battle for a playoff spot that we fought for
all year. That's the most disappointing thing,'' forward Luc Robitaille said.
``The hardest thing we have to do is accept it, because we have no choice
The Kings finished their home schedule 15-16-9-1, their worst mark during a
full season since 1985-86, when they were 9-27-4. Nevertheless, they set a
franchise-record with an average home attendance of 17,877 and had 30 sellouts.
Los Angeles was holding the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot
as recently as March 16, when the losing streak began at home against St.
Louis. The Kings will try to avoid their worst losing streak Sunday at San
``We shouldn't have to have something to motivate us, other than wanting to
win a hockey game. That's what we're paid to do,'' captain Mattias Norstrom
``We tried every method we know of to turn this thing around the last two
weeks, but we couldn't find a way to win games.''
Gelinas tied it 1-1 with 2:39 left in the first period with his 17th goal,
getting a step on defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky and converting Chris Clark's
centering pass from the right circle.
Belanger regained the lead for the Kings just 71 seconds later, one-timing
Sean Avery's pass from behind the net after Cowan knocked Rhett Warrener off
the puck in the corner.
But the Flames pulled even again at 13:09 of the second during a power play,
as Lombardi got a no-look pass from Jordan Leopold and scored into an open net
with Cristobal Huet out of position. The Flames took the lead for good with
6:06 left when Lombardi skated through the slot and knocked in Gelinas'
``These guys made great plays and I just had to finish,'' Lombardi said.
``Leo has eyes in the back of his head. At first, I didn't think he saw me. But
he's a playmaker, so I was not surprised when I got the pass.''
Los Angeles killed a four-minute power play after Jaroslav Modry cut Clark
with a high stick just 26 seconds in. The Kings got a two-man advantage for 27
seconds and scored one second after Chris Simon's hooking penalty expired.
Jaroslav Modry's one-timer glanced off the stick of Calgary's Marcus Nilson
and the puck dribbled to Cowan, who swept in his 11th goal _ ending a streak of
35 consecutive penalty kills by the Flames.