Kings-Flames suddenly carries playoff importance

Kings-Flames suddenly carries playoff importance

With a hold on the Western Conference's first wild-card spot, the Los Angeles Kings control their own playoff fortunes.However, as the Kings visit the Calgary Flames on Tuesday, that grasp has become

With a hold on the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, the Los Angeles Kings control their own playoff fortunes.However, as the Kings visit the Calgary Flames on Tuesday, that grasp has become a little more tenuous following a 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Monday in the opener of a three-game trip through Western Canada.Making the sting of defeat even worse, Los Angeles wasted a golden opportunity to extend a 2-1 lead midway through the Edmonton clash.”We have a (five-on-three) power play, trying to go up 3-1, that could have been a big difference for us and we weren’t able to score,” captain Anze Kopitar told lakingsinsider.com after the clash. “On the flip side, they (score 13 seconds into their next power play). When you get a five-on-three, you’ve got to make the most of it, and we didn’t.”The Kings have won seven of their past 10 games, a crucial turnaround after a disastrous stretch in which they won only two of 16 games (2-8-6). That said, they have lost two of three outings, scoring only five goals in that span.”We did a pretty good job executing, it’s just getting that next goal,” interim coach Jim Hiller said after the Edmonton game. “Oftentimes it comes down to that. If you can stretch them out for one more, it makes it tough. They were able to capitalize on their chances, we weren’t.”The Kings are expected to start Cam Talbot in net against the Flames after David Rittich faced the Oilers. Hiller had no update on the status of forward Adrian Kempe, who was hurt late in the third period, immediately skating off the ice and heading into the locker room after falling awkwardly.The Flames kick off a three-game homestand after an impressive 6-3 victory over the Oilers on Saturday that has them riding a three-game winning streak.

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