We won’t call tonight’s game a “must-win” for the defending champs, because we know Darryl Sutter doesn’t like that term. But we will say this — if the Kings lose in regulation at Calgary, they won’t be going to the playoffs.
So, in that way, it’s a “must-get-at-least-a-point.” (And even that may not be enough.)
The Kings have not fared well against the surprising Flames this season. They’ve only beaten them once, and that’s despite outshooting them in all four of their previous meetings, by a combined margin of 140-84.
“We’ve had trouble scoring against Calgary, for sure, and they score on their opportunities,” Sutter conceded, per LA Kings Insider. “Our team very seldom doesn’t go all out; it’s just we have the trouble with the finish some nights, and you’ve even seen that last night (in Edmonton). Our defensemen scored our goals. It’s tough to win when only your defensemen are scoring goals.”
If the Kings lose in regulation, they’ll become the first defending champs since the 2006-07 Carolina Hurricanes to miss the playoffs, while both Calgary and Winnipeg would clinch spots.
Regardless of what happens in the Kings-Flames game, the Jets can clinch their first playoff spot since moving from Atlanta if they can beat the Avs tonight in Colorado.
A Flames victory of any kind will clinch Calgary’s spot.