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Preview: Kings at Flames

Calgary can clinch playoff berth with win against Los Angeles

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

KINGS (35-33-7) at FLAMES (43-29-4)
9 p.m. ET; SN, FS-W, NHL.TV


Kings team scope

The Los Angeles Kings are fifth in the Pacific Division and 11 points behind the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with seven games remaining. "Seven times two is 14 (points), so we're going to fight," forward Jeff Carter said following a 2-1 loss at the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. "We have to keep fighting. We'll keep fighting until the end." Los Angeles also trails the Nashville Predators by 12 points and has played one fewer game. "Not the situation we wanted to be in, that's for sure," Carter said. "At this time of year you want to be locking up playoff spots and getting ready for a big push. A little different but we'll play right to the end." The Kings have lost four of their past five games (1-4-0), including a 5-2 loss at the Calgary Flames on March 19. "We don't want to be in this position," defenseman Drew Doughty said. "You can point your fingers at a bunch of games throughout the season that put us in this predicament. It [stinks], but we're still playing for this organization and for each other, and we have to play as hard as we possibly can and do whatever it takes to win games even though we might be out of the race." Goalie Jonathan Quick, who made 27 saves Tuesday, could start again. He is 4-4-0 with 16 goals against and one shutout in his past nine games.


Flames team scope

The Flames can clinch a playoff berth for the second time in three seasons with a win in any fashion against the Kings. Calgary (90 points) leads Los Angeles by 13 points and has played one more game. "We can be excited and we should be excited about trying to clinch a playoff spot tonight but there's a bigger picture, which is go deeper into the playoffs and ultimately win the Stanley Cup," forward Troy Brouwer said. "Tonight, hopefully, will be an exciting night for us." Calgary is two points ahead of the Blues for the first wild card and has played one more game. The Flames also trail the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks by three points for second place in the Pacific Division. "From the beginning of the season our first goal was to put ourselves in a playoff position," Brouwer said. "We have a few more goals we want to accomplish past that. Hopefully tonight is a stepping stone for where we want to go as a team." The Flames are on a two-game winning streak and 14-3-0 in their past 17 games. "We've been putting in a lot of work the last couple weeks and we've put ourselves in this position," forward Sean Monahan said. "We're rolling as a team. Tonight we're going to play that same way. We have to keep rolling and playing together as a team." Goalie Brian Elliott, who is 12-1-0 with a 1.89 goals-against average and .944 save percentage in his past 13 games, is expected to start.


Kings projected lineup

Dustin Brown -- Anze Kopitar -- Jarome Iginla

Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Tyler Toffoli

Adrian Kempe -- Nic Dowd -- Jonny Brodzinski

Kyle Clifford -- Trevor Lewis -- Jordan Nolan

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Paul LaDue

Brayden McNabb -- Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick

Ben Bishop

Scratched: Marian Gaborik, Andy Andreoff, Kevin Gravel

Injured: Matt Greene (back), Nick Shore (upper body)


Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Micheal Ferland

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Kris Versteeg -- Matt Stajan -- Troy Brouwer

Lance Bouma -- Sam Bennett -- Alex Chiasson

Mark Giordano -- Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie -- Michael Stone

Matt Bartkowski -- Deryk Engelland

Brian Elliott

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Curtis Lazar, Freddie Hamilton, Dennis Wideman

Injured: None


Status report

The Kings did not skate Wednesday. … The Flames are expected to use the same lineup from their 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday.


Who's hot

Kopitar has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past nine games. … Gaudreau has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in a five-game point streak. … Monahan has two goals and seven points in his past two games. … Brouwer has three goals in his past four games.

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