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Flames edge uninspired Kings in shootout

The SportsXchange

CALGARY, Alberta -- The Stanley Cup playoffs can't come soon enough for the Los Angeles Kings.

The Kings are merely killing time ahead of the postseason. They are locked into the third spot in the Pacific Division, and they will open the playoffs against the second-place San Jose Sharks.

Los Angeles was uninspired much of the night Wednesday in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome, leaving the Kings winless in three games with the second season just around the corner. Coming back from a 3-0 deficit was small consolation.

"The adversity, coming back down from 3-0, is positive but being down 3-0 is not going to cut it. It's a double-edged sword," said Kings right winger and captain Dustin Brown. "I think it's one of those things where going down the stretch, it's a game of mistakes. Overtime it's a little different because it's 4-on-4, but I'm sure there are going to be overtime games in the near future for us so we have to get ready. It's about details."

The final details are simple.

The Kings trailed by three before mounting a comeback worth a single point in the standings.

The Flames rode a 41-save performance by goalie Karri Ramo, while rookie center Sean Monahan not only scored his 21st goal of the season but added his fourth shootout winner for a team that's long been eliminated from playoff contention but now riding a four-game winning streak.

The goal total from Monahan, the No. 6 pick in last year's draft, is the ninth-highest total for a Flames rookie and matches the amount reached by the last forward to hit the 20-goal mark, Jarome Iginla.

"There's not a problem if they want to compare our entire team to Jarome Iginla," said Flames coach Bob Hartley. "He carried this team. He was the face of this franchise for many years. I think there's no problem but I think Monny will create his own identity."

"It's pretty cool," Monahan said of the Iginla comparison. "It's pretty special. It's an honor. I just try to play the game hard and produce as much as I can. It's special to be in that group."

Left winger T.J. Galiardi and center Matt Stajan also scored for the Flames to stake their 3-0 lead late in the middle frame.

However, there is a reason the Kings are a legitimate Cup contender, and it was on full display, albeit briefly, when centers Jarret Stoll and Anze Kopitar sparked the comeback with goals 24 seconds apart before the second intermission. Left winger Dwight King tied the game at 12:18 of the third period.

Goalie Ramo finished with 41 saves for the Flames (35-38-7) in another sparkling performance.

"His progression has been unbelievable and right now, I think he's making a name for himself as a No. 1 (goalie) and that should give him big confidence going into the summer," Hartley said.

Netminder Jonathan Quick stopped 15 shots for the Kings (45-28-7). Los Angeles needs one more win to tie its franchise single-season record.

NOTES: The Flames tied a NHL record by playing in their 49th one-goal game. The mark is also held by the Florida Panthers in 2010-11. ... Neither team was whistled for a penalty. The last time the Kings played a penalty-free game was against the Boston Bruins on Feb. 19, 1977. The Flames were involved in a penalty-free game for the first time since moving to Calgary from Atlanta for the 1980-81 season. ... Flames C Matt Stajan returned to the team after missing the final three contests of the team's recent road swing. Stajan left the team to be with his wife. Their newborn son, Emerson, died in early March and they needed more time together. ... For the second straight game, the Kings were without D Drew Doughty (shoulder) and D Robyn Regehr (undisclosed). That said, both insist they could play if it was a playoff game ... Flames C/LW Paul Byron was supposed to suit up -- he also missed the last three games of the trip -- but didn't because his wife was close to giving birth to their second child. LW Kenny Agostino took his place in the lineup. After the game, the team announced the Byrons were celebrating the arrival of a 9-pound, 6-oz., son. "He'll probably be able to wear Paulie's clothes coming out of the hospital," Hartley said, alluding the fact Byron is listed at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds.
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