The reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings had an opportunity to stay alive in the playoff race on Thursday night but fell short to the surprise of the season, the Calgary Flames. Suffering a 3-1 defeat, the champions won't even have a chance to defend their cup in the playoffs.
The Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014, both times they finished 6th and 8th in the Western Conference standings. Many thought the Kings would see themselves finish in a similar position this season, performing just good enough to make the playoffs and then changing gears to make a push for the cup like they had done in the past.
They almost scarped into the playoffs again but fell short, losing that crucial game in Calgary.
The Kings are a team filled with a lot of talent that just doesn't seem to work all that well during the regular season. Despite losing key defenseman, Slava Voynov earlier in the year due to suspension, the Kings roster has remained relatively the same.
This is the same team that has won the Stanley Cup for two out of the last three years, this time their regular season play came back to haunt them.
The Kings may be out, but on the other end of the spectrum, the Calgary Flames are in. Calgary has been the surprise team of the season, thanks in no small part to head coach Bob Hartley. Hartley spoke of his team's success before the game,
“Our players deserve to be in this position. I don't want to be sarcastic, but if we would have gone with many of your predictions, we could have spent the winter in Punta Cana or something like this."
"We didn't have too many chances. There was not too many reasons to play those games. But we went our way and right now we're putting ourselves in a situation to move onto the next dance,” Hartley added.
Although the Calgary Flames were tight with the Kings in the standings you could in a sense say that David has defeated Goliath. Calgary crushed the dreams of the reigning champs.