Kings: Trying to avoid going down in Flames

March, 28, 2012
3/28/12
10:54
AM PT

Kings (37-27-12, 86 points) vs. Calgary Flames (35-27-15, 85 points) at Scotiabank Saddledome, 6:30 p.m. PT

Five storylines to track:

1. Where they stand – Nothing has changed since Tuesday, when the Kings lost to Vancouver, 1-0, to drop out of the top eight in the Western Conference standings. They’re still one point back of eighth-place Phoenix and seventh-place Dallas, and just two points back of third-place San Jose, the Pacific Division leader. Calgary is one point behind the Kings in 11th. A loss for either team would be devastating at this juncture of the season. Expect both sides to play with both passion and desperation.

2. Offensively challenged, again– After the Kings scored 37 goals in 10 games following the trade for Jeff Carteron Feb. 23, it appeared the offensive woes were solved. Suddenly, they aren’t. The Kings have managed just two goals in the last three games, from a rookie defenseman and a fourth-line forward, throwing a bucket of cold water on their playoff run.

3. Still MIA – There’s still so much more to be expected from Mike Richards. After his nine-goal performance in November, things were especially giddy in L.A. But then he went down with a concussion on Dec. 1 and hasn’t been the same since, scoring just five goals since. The Kings need something out of Richards down the stretch here, even if it’s just an assist or two.

4. MIA No. 2Dustin Brown is the other forward who must come through in the last couple weeks if the King are going to slip into the postseason for a third consecutive year. He started a 10-game point streak the first game Carter played for the Kings, but has produced zero points in the last three. Brown has gotten away from his role, which is to hit people and meander around the goal crease in search of loose pucks.

5. Ex-factorMichael Cammelleri, who spent five seasons in a Kings uniform from 2002 to 2008, is playing some good hockey lately and he’d like nothing more than to stick it to the Kings. He had a goal and two assists Monday in a 5-4 victory against Dallas, knocking the Stars out of the Pacific Division lead. He has three goals and four assists in the last five games, and eight goals and seven assists in the 15 games since he was traded from Montreal to Calgary.

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