While the Los Angeles Kings are on the brink of becoming the first team in eight years to miss the playoffs a season after winning the Stanley Cup, the Calgary Flames are in position to secure their first postseason trip since 2009.
The Flames can do so with a victory Thursday night against the visiting Kings, who would be eliminated from contention with a regulation defeat.
''We have to win," Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said after Tuesday's 4-2 loss at lowly Edmonton. "We've been saying that for a while.''
With two games remaining, Los Angeles (39-26-15) is two points behind third-place Calgary in the Pacific Division and three back of Winnipeg for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Should the Kings lose in overtime or a shootout, they also would be eliminated from playoff contention if the Jets earn at least one point at Colorado on Thursday.
Los Angeles, which hosts San Jose on Saturday, would be the first defending champion to miss the playoffs since Carolina in 2006-07.
''We just have to win our next game and go from there,'' forward Marian Gaborik said. ''We are obviously disappointed to be in this position, but we have to go to Calgary and win. That's all there is to it.''
Los Angeles, outscored 14-5 during an 0-3-1 road slide, earned two points while dropping the season's first three meetings with Calgary (44-29-7) before a 5-3 home win Feb. 12.
After getting Tuesday off, Jonathan Quick is expected to be back in net. He's 2-0-1 with a 1.30 goals-against average this month.
Teammate Tyler Toffoli doesn't have a goal in six games but has recorded four of his career-high 22 in three matchups with Calgary this season. He had his first career hat trick Feb. 12.
''We all know what's at stake,'' Flames coach Bob Hartley said. ''There's a great team coming in, Stanley Cup champs in our building. ... We're going to go out there, we're going to play our own game and we're on a mission. We know what we need to do.''
One season removed from a 77-point effort, Calgary is in position to end its five-year playoff drought after beating Arizona 3-2 on Tuesday for its fourth win in five games. Johnny Gaudreau opened the scoring with his 23rd goal and Sean Monahan's 31st provided the final margin as the Flames extended their home point streak to five games.
"Coach said that many teams wrote us off at the beginning of the season," Gaudreau told the Flames' official website. "We wanted to make sure in our locker room that we knew ourselves that we could be a playoff team. We're just trying to prove it throughout the whole season."
Gaudreau, who has the most goals by a Flames rookie since Paul Ranheim scored 26 and Sergei Makarov 24 in 1989-90, posted a hat trick in a 4-3 overtime win at Los Angeles on Dec. 22. He's had one assist in each of the three meetings since.