It was another Pacific Division matchup as the Calgary Flames beat the LA Kings 4-1 and rose to the top of the Division again.
Well, this was fun! The Calgary Flames battled the LA Kings for the best (at the time) of the Pacific Division facing against the worst team. During the game, the Anaheim Ducks beat the Carolina Hurricanes in overtime to take over the top spot in the Division, but with a 4-1 win, the Flames rose back up.
Mikael Backlund opened up the scoring less than a minute into the game and managed three points tonight. His first three-point night since January of last season. The Flames also did a great job defensively, limiting the Kings to just 14 shots all night and no more than five shots in one period.
Let’s check out how the team got here tonight.
This period started out much different than the first period against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday evening. The Calgary Flames managed to open up the scoring just 36 seconds into the game with Mikael Backlund bringing the puck over the line, getting around Alec Martinez, and finished by a quick wrist shot. The next ten minutes of the period were dominating for the Calgary Flames with basically every line putting in good work and having good opportunities.
In fact, the Flames didn’t even let the Kings get a shot on goal until about eight minutes into the game, and even then, it was a weak shot. The Kings pushed back a little after that, but they still didn’t get great quality chances on Mike Smith.
In the final two minutes of the period, the Flames pushed back hard and had some great chances, but some were blocked, some went wide, and a couple were saved by Cal Petersen. This period finished with the Flames outshooting the Kings 9-4, but their chances ended up quite even by the end of the period.
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The Calgary Flames started the second period by taking a penalty, and 30 seconds into it, the Kings took a double minor, so we saw some 4on4 before the Flames got over two minutes on the PP.
The Flames had some good looks at the start of the PP, but sort of fell back after and the Kings even got some possession after with some shorthanded chances. Right as the powerplay expired, the Flames’ third line had a couple of good looks, especially from James Neal, but it was still a 1-0 game.
The Flames continued to apply the pressure after that before the Kings responded with some chances for themselves and it seemed like Smith didn’t look the most comfortable in net, but he managed to keep the puck out and the Flames did a good job of blocking the shots.
Later in the period, the Kings pushed back some more and Adrian Kempe did a good job on the forecheck before getting the puck back and getting it past Smith. That was only LA’s seventh shot of the game and there was a little over six minutes remaining in the period.
After that goal, the Flames top line had some great and close chances, especially from Johnny Gaudreau who couldn’t believe one of his shots didn’t go in. The Flames pressure didn’t stop there, and after some more pressure, the top line was put right back out and kept the pressure. It was all Flames in the last five minutes of the period, but unfortunately, it went scoreless.
This period finished a tie with the Flames outshooting the Kings 10-5 that frame.
The third period started with some great pressure by the Calgary Flames and another great chance for Gaudreau, but he hit the post for the third time in this game.
Shortly after, Dustin Brown had a great chance which Smith saved, then the Kings took a penalty so the Flames got their third (technically) powerplay of the game. On the PP, Gaudreau finally didn’t hit the post and made it 2-1 on the backhand. And boy, was he ever relieved.
Later in the period, the Flames had a two-on-one with Gaudreau on the wing going down (he was on fire tonight), but Petersen stopped it.
After the Kings took the goalie out, the Flames had a breakaway from Backlund so he got his second goal of the game and the win was looking more realistic. Later, as the net was empty again, Smith stopped the puck with his glove and it looked like he wanted to play it and try for the empty-netter, but the whistle was blown since he held on too long.
That could have been fun, though.
With about seven seconds left, from Backlund to Sean Monahan, we saw another empty-netter, which was Backlund’s third point of the night. So this game finished 4-1 for the Flames as they also outshot the kings 37-14.
This was a great game for the Flames, especially in the third period (like usual) and they’re back on top in the Pacific Division.