Once again the Los Angeles Kings came close, but their 2-1 overtime loss to Calgary was nevertheless a significant setback.
Going into tonight’s action, Los Angeles was just shy of a Wild Card spot. They were even with Calgary with 51 points in 45 contests, but the Flames were the ones holding onto a playoff spot thanks to the tiebreaker. The Kings squandered a golden opportunity to get back into a postseason position though, largely due to the efforts of Flames goaltender Joni Ortio.
The 23-year-old netminder was playing in his fourth game of the season as Karri Ramo is sidelined with an upper-body injury. Ortio kicked out 33 of 34 shots tonight, giving him a 1.23 GAA and .958 save percentage. At this rate it will be very tough for Calgary to send him down.
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick matched Ortio for most of the contest and it was Los Angeles’ Matt Greene that was able to strike first midway through the third period:
Sean Monahan, who scored the overtime game-winner against San Jose on Saturday, came up big again with the equalizer 3:32 minutes later:
Dennis Wideman found the back of the net at 4:08 of the overtime frame.
Calgary and Los Angeles are both scheduled to play on Wednesday (against Anaheim and San Jose respectively), so it is still possible for the Kings to enter the All-Star break in the second Wild Card position, but either way the team is in trouble. Los Angeles has won just two of its last 10 contests. The fact that the Kings have gotten five consolation points over that stretch has helped, but that only slowed the bleeding. They need something more.