Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Kings
If the Calgary Flames are able to beat the Los Angeles Kings in regulation tonight, they will be sitting inside the postseason picture for the first time this year.
The implications of the game are well known by the team and they are confident they can walk out of Staples Center with two points in hand.
"I think everyone is aware of the standings. Who is ahead of us, who is behind us, and what the points are," said Blake Comeau. "Everyone is aware of where we are and how important games are.
"We know we play a lot of teams that we're in a race with so if we play well and realize what has given us success as of late, I think we'll be alright."
Head coach Brent Sutter noted that his team needs to use this knowledge to give them a boost of energy as they head in to face a tough Kings squad.
"It's not something that I harp on but it was brought up to them today that if we bring it like we need to bring it ... we give ourselves a chance to get to where we want to get to.
"We're a good team when we do it the right way."
The Flames have 63 points heading into tonight's battle. The Kings sit in eighth place with 65 but if Calgary defeats them in regulation, they have more wins than Los Angeles does so they will slide into that position.
The Coyotes sit in seventh with 65 points as well while the Blackhawks are residing in sixth place with 67 points.
Phoenix takes on Dallas tonight in pivotal Western Conference battle.
When Mikael Backlund was sidelined with an upper body injury last weekend, Mike Cammalleri was shifted over to play at center ice - his natural position. He has played two games as a pivot and has earned rave reviews from his coach, particularly after his performance in Dallas on Thursday night.
"I thought he was our best forward. I like him at center ice. He generates some stuff. He makes things happen."
Cammalleri himself is feeling great about the transition. He admitted to playing conservatively when it came to the defensive side of things during his first game in his new position but has been able to find balance now that he has gotten acclimatized to the role.
"I really enjoy it. I really like it," he smiled. "It's my natural position and a position where I can help the team the most. So. I've enjoyed it here for two games and I plan on getting better at it."
The Flames are unable to hold a morning skate (they practiced on Friday afternoon as soon as they arrived in California) at the Staples Center today due to the fact the Los Angeles Clippers take on the San Antonio Spurs at 1:30 PM MST. The ice in Los Angeles tonight likely won't be the best so that means the Flames are going to need to be cognizant of its condition.
"A lot of times, you've got to get pucks in deep," Sutter said of bad ice conditions. "Your support has to be really good, your passes have to be bang on, everything has to be a little extra harder. You do want to be a team that sets the tone as far as moving or getting your feet going early.
"Your awareness has to be that much sharper."
* Morning Skate Report interviews were done on Friday afternoon as the team does not skate today.