All-Star center Marcel Dionne reached another milestone Wednesday night at the Forum, while the Kings fell to their fourth straight loss, 4-2 to the Calgary Flames.
Dionne received a standing ovation from the Forum crowd of 10,482 after he scored a power-play goal on a 10-foot rebound shot 5 minutes 47 seconds into the second period for his 1,500 career point. Dionne is in some pretty exclusive territory. Gordie Howe is the all-time NHL leader with 1,850 points, followed by Phil Esposito's 1,590 and Dionne's 1,500.
Dionne's 46th goal of the season gave the Kings a 2-0 lead, but the Flames came back to score four straight goals, including two on power plays, and beat the Kings for the second time in five nights.
"It could have been Marcel's night if we had played a little bit better," King Coach Pat Quinn said. "Getting 1,500 points is absolutely awseome."
But Dionne wasn't celebrating his individual accomplishment as the Kings are mired in their longest losing streak of the season.
"I just play, I don't worry about these things," Dionne said of the milestone. "The only good thing about next year is that there won't be any more milestones. I don't think anyone pays any attention to that."
The loss eliminated the Kings from any chance at finishing third in the Smythe Division. The Flames are 10 points ahead of the Kings with five games left in the regular season. If the two teams were to finish in a tie, Calgary (39-27-9) would be awarded third place because it would have more wins than the Kings (32-30-13).
But the Kings have already clinched their first playoff berth in three years.
They will face the defending Stanley Cup champion Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the the playoffs next month. Three years ago, the Kings stunned Edmonton in the first round of the playoffs, and this season they have won their last two games against the Oilers to tie the season series at 3-3-1.
However, if the Kings continue to play as they have lately, they can forget about beating the Oilers.
"We have to reestablish what we had going earlier in the year or it will be an early vacation." Quinn said. "Tonight we made critical errors in fundamental areas. Their second and third goals, which seemed to change the pace of the game, shouldn't have gone in."
To make matters worse for the Kings, they lost center Doug Smith with an injury to his right knee. Smith was hurt after he collided with Flame defenseman Paul Baxter, who was pushed into Smith by King left wing Phil Sykes with 3:22 left in the first period. Baxter fell on top of Smith's right leg.
Smith hurt the same knee earlier this season and missed 13 games. Quinn said that he doesn't know how serious Smith's latest injury is.
The Flames, who have had a number of injuries themselves, play the Kings again Friday night at Calgary and still have a chance of catching the second-place Winnipeg Jets, whom they trail by four points.
Calgary got a good games from rookie center Perry Berezan and goalie Don Edwards to beat the Kings for the third straight time this month.
Berezan, playing in only his fourth NHL game, had one goal and one assist.
"Perry Berezan is getting better every game," Calgary Coach Bob Johnson said.
Berezan broke a 2-2 tie with 4:59 left in the second period when he scored on a 20-foot slap shot through the legs of King goalie Bob Janecyk.
"I'm happy just to be contributing to this team," Berezan said. "I've got to get a lot stronger because I'm losing a few battles in the corner. But I have been making it up by fighting back, and that's what I've had to adjust to the most."
Edwards got a chance to play when the Flames decided to give starting goalie Reggie Lemelin a rare night off. Lemelin had started the Flames' last 12 games, going 8-2-2.
After giving up goals to Carl Mokosak in the first period and to Dionne in the second, Edwards blanked the Kings the rest of the way, making 22 saves in all. He stopped Dionne on a breakaway with 1:06 left in the second period with a nifty glove save.
"I hadn't played in awhile," Edwards said. "It's been almost a month (since his last game), and then I played just one period. But tonight I was happy just to get out there and perform."
Trailing, 2-0, the Flames scored two goals in a 1:43 span to tie it.
Left wing Richard Kromm took a pass from Berezan and scored his 20th goal of the season on a 35-foot shot to get the Flames on the board at 7:13 of the second period. Left wing Gino Cavallini scored a power-play goal at 8:56 to tie the game.
After Berezan got the game winner, Eddy Beers iced the win with a power-play goal with 7:57 left in the third period.
There was a brawl with just 27 seconds left. It started with Kings left wing Dave (Tiger) Williams and Flame right wing Tim Hunter. Both players got five minute penalties, and Hunter reportedly pointed to the scoreboard as he was skating off the ice.
Another fight broke out between King captain Terry Ruskowski and Calgary defenseman Jamie Macoun after the officials had pulled Williams and Hunter apart. Ruskowski and Macoun drew game misconduct penalties and were ejected.