SUN Hockey Pool

King-sized turn of events

Wayne Simmonds (left) and Warren Peters fight during first period action in Calgary Monday night....

Wayne Simmonds (left) and Warren Peters fight during first period action in Calgary Monday night. (Sun Media/Darren Makowichuk)

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

One win to a division title.

Quite the turn of events over the past few days for the Calgary Flames.

Thanks to last night's 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings, the Flames are on the cusp of claiming the Northwest Division crown, only a few days removed from figuring their hopes of that perch were all but dashed.

They can do it tonight by beating the Vancouver Canucks in regulation time.

"It's a great opportunity," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla. "This is what you play for all season. Now, we have the opportunity.

"We've worked hard for it, been through a few trials, right from the beginning of the year when we had a tough start. We feel we're playing better, getting in some right habits."

Considering Calgary's swoon through the last few months, it's a crazy finish to the regular season. When the Flames lost Friday night in Minnesota, the best guess was the Canucks would continue their hot play and pull away.

Instead, Vancouver lost twice on the weekend and gave the Flames one last chance to recover. They may have just made the most of it.

If the Flames win tonight, Vancouver can still catch them in points, but Calgary will own the first tie-breaker -- wins -- which sets up a late-season clash with all kinds of implications.

"For our team, it's absolutely huge," said Flames forward Michael Cammalleri. "For me, it's probably the biggest game I've played in yet in my NHL career.

"I can't wait. I'm sure Vancouver doesn't want to give that up, and we sure as hell want to win it."

A victory like last night's before the sold-out Saddledome crowd of 19,289 provided so much what they needed.

The Flames were hoping to see a litany of players finally break out of their scoring slumps.

Enough did.

Daymond Langkow, Jarome Iginla, Jim Vandermeer and David Moss all scored for the Flames, who had only six goals in the previous six games.

They needed a breakout -- and a few breaks -- to put themselves in that place.

"It felt a lot better as a team," Iginla said. "It was great to see Mosser get No. 20 -- such a nice goal -- and Vandy get his first, a very important goal.

"We had some good chances, and they were playing well defensively. Overall, it felt a lot better."

Well, other than the slumping powerplay, which failed on click on six chances, including a pair of five-on-three opportunities and has now been blanked in seven games.

Maybe the fact a couple of players are out of their slumps will mean the first step has been taken.

Moss, for instance, went 14 games without a goal after netting his first career hat-trick.

"Nice to get that out of the way here," Moss said of the milestone tally. "I've been getting some chances, but pucks haven't been going on. Hopefully, they'll start going in."

A win tonight is no sure thing.

The Flames have been dreadful all season in back-to-back nights.

"We are due," Moss said. "I think we're due to play a solid road game here, and hopefully, we can go to Vancouver and seal the deal."


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