CALGARY – The Calgary Flames insist the playoffs are still in their reach—even if they have to win all five remaining games.
That quest continues Wednesday at the Scotiabank Saddledome where the Flames (35-27-15) host the Los Angeles Kings (37-27-12), who are coming off a disappointing 1-0 loss in Vancouver on Monday.
“As bad as our situation was a couple days ago, you look at it and if we do get some help and if we do win (Wednesday) we might be inside (the playoff picture),” forward Alex Tanguay said Tuesday. “It’s an important game and we’re all anxious to get going.”
After going 0-2-3 in its previous five games, Calgary responded with a come-from-behind 5-4 win over Dallas on Monday to pull within two points of the Stars and Phoenix Coyotes for the seventh and eighth spots in the Western Conference.
Of course, Los Angeles and Colorado also have to be passed. They sit one point ahead of Calgary.
Tanguay scored the winner Monday to break out of a five-game goalless drought.
Defenceman Mark Giordano, who contributed a power-play goal and an assist against Dallas, said the Flames took a bit of time to enjoy the win before switching their focus to the Kings.
“Us and L.A. are in similar positions right now so we have to get that intensity and aggression right back up,” said Giordano. “You know that their intensity level and their emotion is going to be there because we’re both fighting for the same thing.
“There’s going to be two desperate teams and hopefully we can continue to play with that confidence that we can keep this going—this good feeling.”
After scoring against Dallas for the first time in 16 games, forward Blake Comeau talked about how important it is for the Flames to keep that momentum going when they face the Kings.
“Obviously we know that they’re a point ahead of us and that we’re chasing them,” Comeau said. “We know that they’re going to come out hard and be ready to play. We have to match and exceed that.”
Olli Jokinen also broke out of a lengthy scoring slump against Dallas, registering his first point in eight games. The veteran forward says the Flames don’t care if others have counted them out.
“The players in that room, we believe we can still get in and that’s all that matters,” said Jokinen. “They (The Kings) need two points, we need two points. We have a chance to go by them in the standings.
“We need to relax and we have to enjoy this situation we’re in right now. We can’t hold our sticks too tight. We’ve just got to go out there and play.”
While Calgary coach Brent Sutter acknowledged the Flames will need help in order to pass the likes of the Stars, Coyotes, Kings and Avalanche in the standings, he stressed all his players can worry about is their own performance.
“First and foremost, we have to take care of our business,” Sutter said. “We have to make sure that we’re at our best each game. If we can do that, you’re still going to need some teams to not win and not every team is going to win.”
Sutter plans to continue relying on goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.
“Look at the situation we’re in,” Sutter said. “You’ve got to run with your best. We don’t have an option right now. You’re down to your last five games of the season. You need your best to be your best and we’ll be going with our best.”
Four of their final games are at home, where Calgary is 21-10-6.
“We’ve been playing pretty well at home this year, so we’ve got to continue to do that,” Comeau said. “We can’t expect anything to just fall in our laps. We’ve got to go out and we’ve got to earn it and it won’t be easy.”