Kings officially clinch playoff berth in victory over Flames

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles led wire-to-wire as they punched their playoff ticket for the third straight season.

LOS ANGELES — Viktor Arvidsson contributed a pair of goals and Kevin Fiala and rookie Akil Thomas also chipped in scores as the Kings clinched a playoff berth with a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames at Crypto.com Arena.

The Kings claimed a spot in the playoffs with three games left to play in the regular season, lifting the pressure as they started a four-game homestand.

Kings goaltender Cam Talbot stopped 22 shots, including 10 in the first period. Arvidsson delivered his third and fourth scores of the season while Fiala notched goal number 28 to keep his nice season rolling.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

The Akil Thomas show keeps on rolling

Before Thomas, the last Kings player to score three times within his first five career games was Brian Boyle in 2008. After getting called up from the AHL 10 days ago, he has been on a tear, delivering his third career score Thursday night in the second period and extended the Kings’ lead to 3-0.

The 2018 second-round pick managed to tip in the shot from Matt Roy as the home crowd erupted in support of his elite play for Los Angeles thus far. With the postseason on the horizon, there is even a chance that Thomas has earned himself into some sort of playoff role.

Los Angeles can always use a spark plug that has the capability of providing quick offense and generating excitement every time that he touches the ice. After yet another solid performance, the Kings have won four out of their last five and Thomas’ NHL career continues to start in a magical way.

Thomas shuts down Flames in clutch showing

The Kings headed to Anaheim on Tuesday night with their first opportunity all year to lock up a playoff berth. Talbot got the start in the big game but was unable to help Los Angeles get it done as they fell 3-1.

The anticipation was forced to hold over until Talbot got his chance to help the Kings seal the deal once again on Thursday night. This time around, he was locked in as the Flames failed to get on the board through the first two periods.

They provided a score 8:28 into the third as Jonathan Huberdeau provided Calgary’s lone goal of the night. Talbot finished saving 22 of 23 shots as he played a big-time role in the victory. It was his third win of April and without a doubt the most important one of the season.

Talbot is 23-19-6 this season, playing in 52 games this season. It’s the most games that Talbot has appeared in since the 2017-2018 campaign when he was a member of the Edmonton Oilers. With a third straight playoff matchup against the Oilers lurking on the horizon as a serious possibility, Talbot will have to be at his best if Los Angeles wants to get revenge.

However, thanks to his work Thursday, the Kings have booked their ticket to the best time of year in hockey no matter whom they face in the first round.

Arvidsson has breakout night

Unfortunately for Arvidsson, this season has been one plagued with injuries. Appearing in 15 games this year, he has missed the majority of the campaign recovering from back surgery and dealing with a lower-body injury.

He has found his way back onto the ice during the most crucial time of the year and lifted the load for the Kings on offense as they cruised to a win over Calgary. Arvidsson provided his first score of the night less than a minute into the second period as he threaded the needle on a shot from the right side of the ice.

He once again cashed in on an empty-net goal late in the third period to make it 4-1. With the pair of scores, the 31-year-old delivered his first multi-score performance since March 26, 2023.

Los Angeles will next the Ducks at 7:30 p.m. Saturday as they look to get even with them after a 3-1 loss in Anaheim just two games ago. The Kings lead the season series 2-1.