The Los Angeles Kings have managed to string together back-to-back wins for the first time since December, but that’s not nearly enough to dig out of the sizable hole they’ve created for themselves.
After dropping three contests against Calgary this season, Los Angeles will face the Flames for a fourth and final time tonight. Given that Calgary holds the second Wild Card spot and the Kings are trailing them by five points, this is a critical opportunity for the defending Stanley Cup champions to gain some ground.
“Game 7, must win,” Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin told LA Kings Insider.
While there’s obviously still too much time left in the season for that to be literally true, Muzzin isn’t overstating the stakes by a lot. The Kings have a 38.9% chance of making the playoffs per Sports Club Stats. A loss in regulation time would cause a 8.8% swing in the wrong direction while a regulation win would see their odds improve by 6.6%.
“We better wake up to the fact that it’s a challenge and they’re a great team and we have to bring our best to beat them,” Justin Williams noted.
The Kings haven’t beaten Calgary this season, but at the same time they haven’t been dominated by them either. All three contests were decided by a single goal and two went to overtime. Los Angeles just needs to do a bit better tonight to have a chance at the all-important two points.