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Preview: Game Day #81, Kings @ Flames

Do or die.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Los Angeles Kings @ Calgary Flames (Scotiabank Saddledome)

Time: 6:00 PM PST

TV: Fox Sports West, SportsNet West

Enemy Reading: Matchsticks & Gasoline

Lineups:

Los Angeles Kings

Gaborik–Kopitar–Williams
King–Carter–Toffoli
Brown–Stoll–Lewis
Clifford–Shore–Nolan

Muzzin–Doughty
Regehr–Martinez
McNabb–Greene

Quick
(Jones)

Scratched: Richards, McBain, Andreoff; Injured: Pearson, Sekera; Suspended: Voynov

Calgary Flames

Gaudreau–Monahan–Hudler
Raymond–Backlund–Colborne
Bollig–Granlund–Jooris
Ferland–Stajan–Jones

Russell–Wideman
Brodie–Engelland
Schlemko–Potter

Hiller
(Ortio)

Scratched: Wotherspoon, Bouma, Shore, Bennett; Injured: Smid, Byron, Giordano, Diaz, Ramo


Obligatory Standings Update (as of April 9, 2015)


Pacific Division Standings
Rank Team DIV GP W L OT P ROW
1 Anaheim P 81
50
24 7 107
42
2 Vancouver P 80 46
29 5
97 40
3 Calgary P 80 44
29 7 95
40
4 Los Angeles P 80
39 26 15 93
37

Wild Card Standings
Rank Team DIV GP W L OT P ROW
1 Minnesota C 80
45 27 8
98 41
2 Winnipeg C 80
42
26 12 96
35
3
Los Angeles P 80
39 26 15 93
37

(top three seeds in Pacific Division, top two seeds in Wild Card qualify for playoffs)

Game Notes:

  • So, the possibility of the Los Angeles Kings missing the playoffs has loomed for a few months now. Suddenly, a loss means a long summer. (Gee, thanks, Oilers.)
  • Of course, there's a huge gap between eliminated, and on the brink of elimination. No team knows that better than the Kings, who went 7-0 in elimination games in the 2014 playoffs. And though the "sky is falling" mood on Tuesday night was completely understandable, there's only one outcome which takes the Kings' destiny out of their own hands: a Winnipeg win tonight combined with a Calgary win over Winnipeg on Saturday.
    (editor's note: yes, losing to Calgary = elimination, but that's very much in their hands.)
  • For all the rest, you can check out Andrew's post.
  • No lineup changes are expected for the Kings. If that holds, for the first time since the 2011 playoffs, the Kings will play an elimination game without Mike Richards in their lineup.
  • Some good news:
  • Though Jonathan Quick has had an up-and-down season, he's rounded into form as of late, with 74 saves on 78 shots in April to follow up a good March and a great February. Given Calgary's penchant for third-period magic, he might need to stand on his head late.
  • LA doesn't necessarily have to win in regulation tonight, but given the way the Kings have struggled beyond regulation this season, it's the safest way to go.
  • The future is uncertain for Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll, and Robyn Regehr. They've all received their share of criticism lately; Williams isn't scoring goals, Stoll has two points in his last 25 games, and Regehr's ups and downs have been well chronicled here. Tonight would be a damn good chance for them to prove their worth.
  • PREDICTION: The Kings survive.