The Province

No lack of effort in Flames’ loss to L.A.

- SCOTT CRUICKSHAN­K POSTMEDIA NEWS

CALGARY — He does not give a hoot what the standings tell him. It’s nearly March and Bob Hartley knows what that means — gearing up for the postseason.

So, playoff afterthoug­hts or not, the 27th overall Calgary Flames are going to be whipped down the stretch.

“I told the players, ‘I don’t care what you’re going to read or what you’re going to hear, we’re not out of the playoffs,’” the Flames skipper was saying Thursday morning. “I want us to survive. I want us to shock the league. I know it’s a long-shot. I’m not expecting anyone in Vegas right now to be putting money on us.

“For the next 24 games, I want them in a playoff mode. ”

The Flames, after their 19-day break, fell 2-0 to the Los Angeles Kings at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

They may have had no answer for goalie Jonathan Quick, but, unlike the dismal mail-ins of (recent) stretch drives, the Flames had been a determined bunch, which, decipherin­g the aforementi­oned coachspeak, is precisely what Hartley is demanding.

The Kings, who led 1-0 through 40 minutes, got a third-period strike from Dwight King to keep the workmanlik­e locals at bay. The travellers’ other flash of offence? Rookie goalie Joni Ortio — in the third minute of his career, on the second shot — permitted a goal by Dustin Brown, who’d deked in after swiping the puck from Kris Russell.

Ortio was good the rest of the way.

 ?? — GETTY IMAGES ?? Goalie Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings keeps his eye on the puck as skates fly in front of the net during his 2-0 shutout over the Flames in Calgary Thursday.
— GETTY IMAGES Goalie Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings keeps his eye on the puck as skates fly in front of the net during his 2-0 shutout over the Flames in Calgary Thursday.

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