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Preview: Kings at Flames

Los Angeles trails Predators by six points for second wild card in Western Conference

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

KINGS (34-29-7) at FLAMES (40-27-4)

9:30 p.m. ET; SN1, SNW, FS-W, NHL.TV


Kings team scope

The Los Angeles Kings trail the Nashville Predators by six points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with a game in hand. "We're trying to make up ground," forward Jarome Iginla said. "It's going to go quick in the last 12 [games]. We know the importance of them. It's also nice we get to play the division games and play teams that we're trying to catch and move up on. It's a group here that is a very veteran group, very successful." The Kings sit nine points back of the Calgary Flames for the first wild card and 10 behind the Edmonton Oilers, who they play Monday, for third in the Pacific Division. "Four-point [games]," defenseman Jake Muzzin said. "Two points for us is huge. It's a must-win game. Coming down the stretch here that's our attitude on every game, that it's a must-win game. We've got some guys who have played in big games here. We need the leadership and experience to come." Goaltender Jonathan Quick, who is 4-1-0 with eight goals against and one shutout in his past five games, is expected to start. "He's our No. 1 guy," Muzzin said. "He's obviously one of the best in the world. He gives us a chance to win every night. We need that. He knows the importance of these games."


Flames team scope

Goaltender Brian Elliott, who is 10-0-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average, .944 save percentage and two shutouts in his past 10 games, will start for Calgary. Elliott can tie Mike Vernon for the Flames record of 11 straight wins set from Jan. 17-Feb. 27, 1989. "He's been great back there for us," forward Johnny Gaudreau said. "He's won a lot of games for us in these past 10. It's fun to play in front of him when you get a goaltender playing like that." The Flames, who trail the Oilers by one point for third in the Pacific, are 11-1-0 in their past 12 games. Their only defeat was a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on March 15, a game Elliott missed because of the flu. Forward Micheal Ferland, who has nine goals in his past 20 games, is a game-time decision because of an illness. "We've got a little bug in our room there a little bit, like [Elliott] and everybody else," coach Glen Gulutzan said. "[Matthew Tkachuk] was sick the other day too and didn't skate in the morning, but he played the game at night. It'll be the same thing here." If Ferland doesn't play, Curtis Lazar will make his debut with the Flames. Lazar was acquired by Calgary prior the NHL Trade Deadline and has since been a healthy scratch for seven games.


Kings projected lineup

Dustin Brown -- Anze Kopitar -- Jarome Iginla

Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Tyler Toffoli

Marian Gaborik -- Adrian Kempe -- Trevor Lewis

Nic Dowd -- Andy Andreoff -- Kyle Clifford

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Paul LaDue

Kevin Gravel -- Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick

Ben Bishop

Scratched: Brayden McNabb, Matt Greene

Injured: Jordan Nolan (undisclosed), Nick Shore (upper body)


Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Alex Chiasson

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Kris Versteeg -- Matt Stajan -- Troy Brouwer

Lance Bouma -- Sam Bennett -- Curtis Lazar

Mark Giordano -- Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie -- Michael Stone

Matt Bartkowski -- Deryk Engelland

Brian Elliott

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Freddie Hamilton, Dennis Wideman, Rasmus Andersson

Injured: Micheal Ferland (illness)


Status report 

The Kings and Flames each held optional morning skates. …Greene, who has missed the past 25 games because of an undisclosed injury, is eligible to play according to Kings coach Darryl Sutter. ... Chiasson will move to a line with Gaudreau and Monahan if Ferland doesn't play.  


Who's hot 

Kopitar has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his past 10 games. … Toffoli has two goals and two assists in his past four games. …Frolik has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past seven games. … Gaudreau has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his past nine games.

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