Where do the Los Angeles Kings fit in the ranks of Calgary Flames rivals?

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
5 months ago
Generally-speaking, rivalries between National Hockey League clubs are built in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Fans probably remember back to historic clashes between the Calgary Flames and bitter rivals like the Edmonton Oilers and the Vancouver Canucks, and more recent skirmishes against teams like the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche, as foundational to building hatred between the teams and their fanbases.
But given this formula, the level of bitterness in games between the Flames and the Los Angeles Kings seems to buck the trend.
Without looking it up, can you remember the last time the Flames faced the Kings in the post-season? They last met in the 1993 Smythe Division Semi-Final, when the Kings beat the Flames in six games. We’ll concede that the Flames and the Kings met frequently in the playoffs back in the day – they faced each other in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1993 – but they haven’t met in three decades.
Especially for the current generation of fans, the Flames and the Kings have a rivalry largely built in the regular season.
Since the Flames entered the NHL, and since they moved to Calgary, they’ve only played Vancouver and Edmonton more often than Los Angeles. And when you look back at some of the biggest, wildest moments in recent Flames history… a lot of them are in regular season games against the Kings.
Johnny Gaudreau’s first NHL hat trick… against the Kings, in a dramatic comeback win!

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The Flames clinching their playoff spot in 2015… against the Kings!

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The entirety of the lengthy Matthew Tkachuk/Drew Doughty feud, which definitely contributed to Tkachuk maturing into a pretty complete hockey player.

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The two teams have spent the period since 2015-ish as almost funhouse mirror versions of each other, in no small part because of the Darryl Sutter influence found in both organizations and the large overlap in player personnel on each club over the years. They’ve both enjoyed some regular season success, and some slides down the standings along the way, and games between these teams have been fast, physical, tense, and occasionally really scrappy.
The Kings aren’t the Flames’ top rival. (That’s the Oilers, of course.) But for two teams that haven’t played in the post-season in ages, they have really built a pretty strong enmity for each other into their regular season meetings. Hopefully, for the sake of fans of both clubs, the Flames and Kings can eventually meet in the playoffs.
But for now, we’ll have to make due with their regular season series – and those games have tended to be pretty fun to watch.
The Flames close out their pre-Christmas calendar on Saturday night with a game in Los Angeles against the Kings.

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