A big division game between the Calgary Flames and the LA Kings tonight with two big points on the line. Let’s see how this game went down.
A big game for both of these teams. The Calgary Flames and LA Kings are separated by just one point. The Flames are in the third Pacific Division spot and the Kings are on the outside looking in. But the Flames have a game on hand. A win for them tonight and increase to a three-point lead with one game on hand would help them secure that third Pacific Division spot.
What’s crazy is that the last time the Flames and Kings met three weeks ago, the Kings were 11 points ahead of the Flames. Oh, how things change.
The Flames have lost their last two games in OT and are currently on a nine-game point streak. They’re the only team left undefeated in regulation in 2018. The Flames play tonight at the ‘Dome then will play tomorrow night vs. their province rival – the Edmonton Oilers.
Mike Smith will get the nod tonight, meaning David Rittich will most likely get it tomorrow vs. the Oilers. Speaking of Mike Smith, earlier today, Jonathan Quick has opted out of the All-Star game and Smith will be taking his spot this weekend.
Quick will also be sitting tonight as Darcy Kuemper will get the start between the pipes.
Let’s check out how this game went.
The period started with a much better start for the Calgary Flames than the Buffalo Sabres game. They had much cleaner zone entries and neutral zone possession. But to be completely honest, this period wasn’t the most exciting period. Well, early on. The Flames had two penalties which they killed both off quite successfully. In fact, Mark Jankowski had a great shorthanded breakaway chance but shot the puck wide. In their two penalties, they had two scoring chances and two shots.
But on the other hand, in one powerplay, they weren’t really successful and managed just one scoring chance and no shots. They will, however, start the second period on the powerplay with the Kings taking a late-period penalty.
Guess who isn’t excited about this powerplay?
It finally got exciting with a nice entry by Brett Kulak, he got the puck to Micheal Ferland who nicely passed it between his legs to Sean Monahan, got it to Johnny Gaudreau, who got it back to Monahan and in the net! It was a beautiful sequence of passing and one of the nicest sequences this season for this team.
This period ended 1-0 for the Flames with the Flames outshooting the Kings 8-6 and had 14 shot attempts (5v5) compared to the Kings 10.
This powerplay was much better than the first. Well, in the last few seconds of the powerplay. The Calgary Flames got shots and chances and continued the pressure when the game went back to even-strength. Some good saves by Darcy Kuemper and a crossbar hit and this game is still 1-0. They managed three shots on that powerplay.
The two teams played less than half of that period at 5on5. The Flames went on the penalty kill five minutes into the period, then at 9:31 into the period, Kyle Clifford and Mark Giordano went to the box for roughing. But Clifford also took an unsportsmanlike conduct and his penalty will be served by Andy Andreoff. Then Sam Bennett about a minute later took a cross-checking penalty. Less than two minutes later, Drew Doughty took a tripping penalty against Troy Brouwer and also got an unsportsmanlike call, so will spend four minutes in the box.
Mikael Backlund also got a ten-minute misconduct for tossing half his stick up in the crowd with about seven minutes left of the period, so he was gone the rest of that period.
With all those penalties, there were no goals. But both goaltenders had to be sharp. And there was this especially nice save from Mike Smith in a Flames giveaway in their own zone.
After two periods, we are still at a 1-0 game. However, at 5v5, the Flames completely outperformed the Kings with 22 shot attempts compared to the Kings 10. They also had 15 scoring chances compared to the Kings five. After two periods, the Flames were outshooting the Kings 24-14. In all situations, the Flames have 55 shot attempts compared to the Kings’ 30. The Flames (finally) deserve this win but seeing how that’s the case, I’m not excited for the third period.
That being said, let’s go to the third period.
Heading into the third, the Kings had to find a way to try and generate some offence, so they put Marian Gaborik on that top line. Mark Jankowski took a tripping penalty less than five minutes in, so the Kings would go on the powerplay.
They were finally able to generate some plays on the powerplay and tied this game up with about 16 minutes left in the game with a slapper from Jake Muzzin at the line. Oh boy.
The Calgary Flames seemed quite deflated after that goal. They took four consecutive icing calls and weren’t playing the best hockey of the game for the first half of the third period. But they finally picked it up around the midway mark and weren’t spending as much time in their zone.
At one point as Smith was making a save, he seemed to stretch awkwardly and looked in discomfort. Panic ensues. But after skating around trying to shake it off and getting checked out by the trainer, he seemed to be fine.
60 minutes couldn’t solve anything, so this would need overtime. For the third straight game.
The Kings started out with possession by winning the faceoff. That resulted in some back and forth action between both teams. Then Mike Smith gave the puck away right to Anze Kopitar, but Gaudreau came back to the rescue and took the puck away.
But those puck plays and giveaway would soon cost Smith. Instead of holding the puck, he again played it, and again it was a giveaway. Drew Doughty to Tanner Pearson and the Flames lose 2-1 in OT. Again. Losing 2-1 in extra time for the third straight game. But this game wasn’t Smith’s fault. The Flames couldn’t capitalize on any of their five powerplays and one was four minutes straight.
On the plus side: The Calgary Flames are on a ten-game point streak and have allowed two goals or less in their last eight games – the longest streak of that sort among any team this season. On the negative side, this is the Flames third straight loss.
The Flames and Kings are now tied in points, but the Flames have one game on hand. They absolutely need to win tomorrow night vs. the Oilers.