Greetings from Calgary, where the
In essence, a regulation loss will eliminate the Kings from the playoffs, though they have a small chance to get in if they get a point Thursday by losing in overtime or a shootout and Winnipeg gets no points in its game against Colorado. For the Flames, a win means a playoff berth for the first time since 2009, and a local TV morning show reported that tickets for Thursday's game were selling for $700 on the secondary market.
This is a case of cutting things a bit too close even for the Kings, who have made an art form of qualifying for the playoffs in the final few days of the regular season and last season proved their poise under pressure by going 7-0 in elimination games during the playoffs. It seems likely their experience in such situations would help them Thursday, but Coach
“Just got to win a game,” Sutter said after the team’s morning skate at the
Sutter also said it didn't matter how the Kings got into this dire situation. "You could say we should have 100 points if we had won more shootouts. You could say lots of different things," he said. "It's just about winning a game."
It's also about being in a position they never expected to be in.
“It is a little bit surprising,” defenseman
The Kings close the regular season at home against the
After a long season and 64 playoff games over the past three seasons, do the Kings have one comeback left in them?
"I believe we do," Muzzin said. "We definitely have the group in here to do it. We're going to need everyone to believe and to give that extra desire and desperation tonight and the following game."
But there's a question as to whether they have enough left physically to play the hard-hitting game that usually brings them success. They've scored only three goals in their last two games -- losses at Vancouver and Edmonton -- and after the Edmonton defeat, center Anze Kopitar noted a lack of vigor. "I just didn't think we had enough energy, enough jump," he told The Times' Lisa Dillman.
Muzzin agreed. "Everyone plays the same amount of games and the same travel. Being tired is no excuse," he said. "Everyone has to dig down a little deeper and find that extra oomph for the games coming up."
If they don't, they'll have a very long summer to rest.