More importantly, the win moves the Flames into the playoff picture for the first time this season. Though they are technically tied with the Kings, each team having 65 points, the Flames 28-22-9 record is one win better than LA’s 27-21-11 record. The Flames have also won 2 more games in regulation and OT than the Kings.
Mike Cammalleri scored the lone goal in the game, about 4 minutes into the 3rd period. Cammalleri’s 14th goal of the season can be credited to the hard work of Tom Kostopoulos, who has recently moved from the 4th line to the 2nd line. After a very solid game, Kostopoulos chipped the puck into the Kings end and chased it down to the goal line. He shot the puck towards the net and it bounced off Kings goalie Jonathan Quick right onto the stick of Cammalleri who fired a quick shot into the Kings’ net.
Though the Kings pressed late in the game, their goal scoring woes continued and they were shutout for the 2nd straight game. The Kings, who up until tonight had held down the 8th spot in the Western Conference, have scored the fewest number of goals of any team in the NHL. They have found the back of the net only 124 times this season.
The Flames definitely can’t get complacent now that they find themselves in a playoff spot for the first time since March 2011. They still have a long road ahead to make the post-season and need to win a lot of key games against teams they are competing with in the Western Conference playoff race. On Tuesday, Calgary returns home for a 4-game home stand starting with a game against Edmonton. Then they round-out February with matches against Phoenix, Philadelphia and St. Louis.
March madness will feature 8 of 17 games against the teams the Flames are battling with for a playoff spot. The Flames will play Dallas 3 times, Phoenix and Colorado twice each, and Los Angeles once more. In the 6 seasons since the lockout, it has taken an average of 95 points to make the post season. The Flames currently have 65 points so they will need to win at least 15 of their remaining 23 games to give themselves a chance.
Back in December I had officially given up on the Flames this season. I didn’t think they had what it takes to make the post season. Now, I’m still not sure, but at least there’s hope. What do you think? Will the Flames make the post-season?