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game recap

Flames keep pace for first wild card

Defeat Kings to remain tied with one game remaining

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

The Calgary Flames remain tied for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with a 4-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Thursday.

The Flames and Nashville Predators, who won 7-3 at the Dallas Stars on Thursday, each have 94 points with one game remaining.

 

WATCH: All Flames vs. Kings highlights

 

"Right now at this time of the year, games are a little volatile," Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. "It's not about wins or losses, it's about playing the right way. We did a lot of good things tonight. That's important, that your habits stay intact."

Video: CGY@LAK: F. Hamilton tucks home wraparound goal

Sam Bennett, Dennis Wideman, Freddie Hamilton and Alex Chiasson scored for the Flames (45-32-4).

Jon Gillies made 27 saves to win his NHL debut. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Gillies is the fifth goaltender in Flames history to win his NHL debut, and first since Reto Berra on Nov. 3, 2013.

"That was an unbelievable effort by our team," Gillies said. "It was fun to play behind. When you play behind a group like that, it's easy to see why they've had so much success this year. It's nice to be a part of it."

Trevor Lewis scored, and Ben Bishop made 20 saves for the Kings (38-35-7), who were eliminated from playoff contention when they lost 2-1 to the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday. They are 5-7-1 in their past 13 games.

"I've said it, and it'll hold true; it held true last summer," Kings coach Darryl Sutter told LA Kings Insider. "We don't match up in our division very well, and we certainly did not tonight, and it's clear."

Video: CGY@LAK: Chiasson redirects point shot past Bishop

Bennett gave the Flames a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal 4:57 into the first period. Lewis tied the game 1-1 at 6:13.

Wideman gave the Flames a 2-1 lead on a breakaway at 3:12 of the second period, and Hamilton scored on a wraparound to make it 3-1 at 10:45. Wideman had been a healthy scratch in 10 consecutive games and 18 of the past 21 games. Hamilton had been a healthy scratch in six straight games, 17 of the past 19 games, and 27 of the past 30.

"I haven't played in a bit and I was just trying to get the feel for it," Wideman said. "Hopefully I can play again the next game and shake some more of the cobwebs yet."

Chaisson scored on a deflection in the slot at 14:20 of the second period to make it 4-1.

Gillies made eight saves in the third.

Video: CGY@LAK: Gillies turns away Andreoff's quick shot

 

Goal of the game

After moving the puck around the Kings zone on the power play, Bennett one-timed a pass in the slot from Mikael Backlund over Bishop's right pad.

Video: CGY@LAK: Bennett sweeps home one-timer for PPG

 

Save of the game

Gillies spun to make a windmill save with his arm on Derek Forbort with 56 seconds remaining in the second period.

Video: CGY@LAK: Gillies sprawls to deny Forbort in NHL debut

 

Highlight of the game

Wideman stepped out of the penalty box and took a breakaway pass from Micheal Ferland before shooting between Bishop's legs. "I think I almost toe-picked when I first got the puck so I was thinking, 'Oh God, don't fall,'" Wideman said. "Then I was just thinking, 'Just shoot,' and it went in for me. It definitely felt good."

Video: CGY@LAK: Wideman finishes break with five-hole tally

 

Unsung performance of the game

Curtis Lazar, who had been a healthy scratch in 14 of 16 games since being acquired by the Ottawa Senators at the NHL Trade Deadline, had an assist and finished with three hits in 12:10 of ice time.

 

They said it

"You want to win every game you can. I think Saturday we want to ramp it up for the guys that are playing. We want to ramp it up and make sure we're playing the same way that game as we're going to play in Game 1 [of the playoffs]. It's a big game. We can use it that way." -- Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman

 

"I think our young guys had good energy and pretty good execution in the first period. I thought some of our older players really struggled with that, and that's a little bit of probably end of the season for them." -- Kings coach Darryl Sutter

 

Need to know

Gillies was recalled from Stockton of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis Wednesday after Chad Johnson sustained a lower-body injury in the first period of a 3-1 loss at the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. … Wideman, Hamilton and Lazar played to give forwards Matt Stajan and Lance Bouma, and defenseman Michael Stone rest prior to the playoffs. … Bishop is 2-3-2 since being acquired by the Kings from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Feb. 26.

 

What's next

Flames: At the San Jose Sharks on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; SN, NHLN, NBCS CA+, NHL.TV)

Kings: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday (6 p.m. ET; FS-W, CSN-CH, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Gillies' strong NHL debut leads Flames to 4-1 win

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