Visiting Calgary has a chance to pull even with Los Angeles in the standings with a regulation victory Saturday night.
The Kings’ 1-0 loss to Phoenix on Thursday marked the seventh time in 11 games they’ve scored one or zero goals, and consequently they have seven losses in that stretch. The league’s lowest-scoring team has been shut out seven times - tied for the second-most in the NHL - and has slipped into a tie with the Coyotes for the final two postseason spots.
The Flames are just two points behind.
“We knew it was a big game,” forward Anze Kopitar said. “And obviously at this time of the year, you want to create some separation. We failed to do that tonight, and it’s disappointing - especially at home.”
Los Angeles (27-20-11) dropped to 7-16-6 when allowing the first goal.
“I’ve said it 100 times. This league is about having the lead and scoring the first goal. It’s a big difference in the game,” coach Darryl Sutter said. “If you want to say anything about a playoff atmosphere, that’s what a playoff atmosphere is about.”
The Kings scored first but still fell 2-1 in a shootout Jan. 19 in the most recent meeting with the Flames, who have earned at least one point in seven straight games overall - a 4-0-3 stretch.
Calgary (27-22-9) fell 3-2 at Dallas in overtime Thursday. Coach Brent Sutter - Darryl’s brother - wasn’t thrilled with his team’s performance, although he was happy that Mike Cammalleri tied the game with 5:03 remaining in regulation.
“To score late like that and get the point is huge,” Brent Sutter said. “But I don’t think we played overly well.”
Jarome Iginla, who scored in the last matchup with Los Angeles, added his team-leading 23rd goal Thursday.
“It doesn’t feel too good right now to lose in OT, but it’s still a very important point and we’ll take it,” Iginla said.
Quick has a 1.47 GAA in his last 19 starts - allowing two goals or fewer 17 times - though he’s only 9-5-5 during that stretch. His 1.89 overall GAA is third in the league, while Kiprusoff’s 2.28 mark ranks 12th.
Quick has gotten the better of Kiprusoff in recent matchups. Quick is 4-0-1 with a 1.33 GAA in the last five meetings, allowing exactly one goal in four of those contests.
Kiprusoff, though, hasn’t allowed more than two goals while going 4-2-1 with a 1.40 GAA in his last seven starts in Los Angeles.
The Flames have scored one regulation goal in each of the last four meetings at Staples Center - losing three.
Kopitar scored and Quick made 29 saves Jan. 14 in a 4-1 road win over the Flames, while Mike Richards chipped in with a goal and an assist. Richards, however, hasn’t scored since, totaling two assists in his last 13 games.