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Calgary Flames can clinch playoff berth with win over Los Angeles Kings

Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith, left, makes a save against Calgary Flames' Josh Jooris during first period NHL action in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday April 7, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
April 08, 2015 - 8:00 AM

CALGARY - There is now a quick and straightforward path to the NHL playoffs for the Calgary Flames.

A win over the Los Angeles Kings in Calgary's final home game of the season Thursday will put the Flames in the post-season for the first time since 2009.

Calgary's 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes combined with the Kings' 4-2 loss up the highway to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday gave Calgary 95 points in third place in the Pacific Division — two points up on the Kings.

The Flames can put insurmountable distance on the defending Stanley Cup champions with a victory Thursday.

"We've been trying to take care of business leading up to this game," Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman said.

"We knew just the way everyone seems to be winning, we knew it would come down to this game as long as we won ours. And we have been. So here we go."

Calgary (44-29-7) posted a 3-1 record against Los Angeles this season, with two of the wins in overtime.

The Flames would hold onto third in the division with a single point from a shootout or overtime loss Thursday against the Kings.

The race for third place would then come down to the last day of the regular season Saturday, when Calgary finishes on the road in Winnipeg and the Kings (39-26-15) are at home to San Jose.

Flames head coach Bob Hartley would prefer his team take the more efficient route to the post-season Thursday.

"We all know what's at stake," he said. "There's Stanley Cup champs coming in our building. We're on a mission. We know what we need to do."

The idle Vancouver Canucks clinched a playoff berth with the Kings' loss and would be Calgary's first-round opponent should the Flames secure a divisional playoff berth.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version erroneously reported that the wild-card berth was still in play for Calgary.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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