After two straight regulation losses, the Los Angeles Kings need to regain the touch they displayed during a recent six-game winning streak or they could find themselves watching the postseason from home.
The Kings will try to avoid a third straight loss when they visit another team fighting for a playoff spot, the Calgary Flames, tonight at the Saddledome.
Los Angeles went 6-0 from March 11-22 and scored 22 goals over that stretch. However, the Kings have since scored a total of two goals in dropping consecutive games to Boston and Vancouver.
After the 0-2 stretch, the Kings find themselves tied with Colorado for the ninth seed in the West, one point behind Dallas and Phoenix for the conference's last two playoff spots. Calgary is just two points behind the Stars and Coyotes and one behind LA.
Four of the teams are in action tonight, all except the Coyotes, who are idle this evening ahead of Thursday's showdown with San Jose. The Sharks are leading the Pacific Division by just one point over Phoenix and Dallas and the Kings are just two points behind San Jose.
After getting dealt a 4-2 loss by visiting Boston on Saturday, the Kings opened a four-game road trip with Monday's test in Vancouver. LA, which is ahead of only Minnesota in goals scored this year, had its offense frustrated by Roberto Luongo in the 1-0 loss, as the Canucks goaltender stopped all 38 shots sent his way. Manny Malhotra scored the only goal of the game for Vancouver.
Jonathan Quick was the hard-luck loser, stopping 24-of-25 shots for the Kings, who have been on the losing end of six 1-0 decisions this season -- five of which came in regulation.
Los Angeles, which will close this swing with stops in Edmonton and Minnesota, is 16-13-8 as the guest this season.
The Flames, meanwhile, picked up a much-needed regulation victory in Monday's home test against Dallas. The win ended an 0-2-3 slide that did little to help Calgary's postseason chances.
Mike Cammalleri posted a goal and two assists to lift the Flames to the 5-4 win over the Stars, who won the opener of the home-and-home series with Calgary, posting a 4-1 decision Saturday in Dallas.
"I want them in a positive mind set, I want them focusing on the task at hand, let's not worry about April, let's just focus on each game," said Calgary head coach Brent Sutter.
Cammalleri has three goals and four assists during a five-game point streak and now has 15 points (8 goals, 7 assists) in 23 games since coming to Calgary in trade with Montreal.
Mark Giordano added a goal and an assist in the win while Blake Comeau, Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay each posted a goal for the Flames. Miikka Kiprusoff posted 35 saves in the win.
Tonight's tilt marks the middle contest of a three-game homestand for the Flames, who will close the residency Friday against Colorado. Calgary is 21-10-6 as the host this year compared to a 14-17-9 mark on the road.
The Kings posted a 4-1 win in Calgary to open this four-game season series on Jan. 14, but the Flames won both of their games in Los Angeles. The Flames have taken five of nine overall in this series, while the Kings have claimed two straight at the Saddledome after losing their previous 10 games in Calgary.