January 19 2012 11:40PM
The Calgary Flames have scored just four regulation goals in their last four games, yet they've won a pair of those games and have five of a possible eight points. It's not what you'd call a sustainable brand of hockey, but it's worked to this point, and they picked up another win Thursday night by taking a 2-1 shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings.
The Flames fell down early in this one, as the Kings capitalized on a weird bounce early with Dustin Brown's 13th coming at 3:28. The puck was kinda coughed up to the left of the slot allowing Brown to jump on a loose puck, firing it by Miikka Kiprusoff for the first goal of the game. The scoring chances had LA ahead 5-3 after one.
Calgary would tie the game midway through the second period, on their third and final powerplay of the night. What seemed like a breakdown in coverage by LA allowed Jarome Iginla far too much time in the left circle, and the captain isn't going to miss there. He teed up a slapshot for his 18th of the season at 9:15 which ties Iginla for the team lead in goals. We had a tie game heading to the final frame.
Nothing changed in the third period, with only three chances a piece in the final frame. Both teams did a very good job of funnelling everything to the outside, making it a heck of a challenge to generate anything of note.
Off to overtime we went, with the Kings getting the better scoring chances only to be thwarted by a couple of really nice Kiprusoff saves. Calgary's best chance was stopped on an old-fashioned two-pad stack from Jonathan Quick, and it was shootout time in LA. The Flames scored on their first two shots thanks to Olli Jokinen and Mike Cammalleri while a Justin Williams goal wasn't enough thanks to misses from Jack Johnson and Mike Richards. The Flames aren't generating much of anything offensively, but they're winning games.
One Good Reason...
...why the Flames won? By getting this game to a shootout. For a second straight contest, Calgary did a strong job of frustrating their opponent, as the Kings went long stretches of time without much of anything. However, I did feel LA had the higher quality chances overall, so Kiprusoff had to be strong once again. All things combined for the Flames only allowing one regulation goal for the second straight night.
I'll give it to Miikka Kiprusoff tonight, who made 31 stops for his 21st win of the season. He was particularly strong in overtime and the shootout, but once again, gave his team more than a chance to win like he has all season long. If Calgary does plan on trading Kiprusoff, they'll be doing it with him playing very well. If they decide to keep him in the fold, well, he'll likely keep giving them a chance to win.
Sum It Up
I guess it depends on how you look at it. Calgary's last four games have seen them score only four goals in regulation. Or in their last three wins, the Flames have allowed just two regulation goals. They're getting some good fortune right now, and the bounces are certainly going their way, but at least they're getting points. Now just two pack of eighth in the Western Conference, it could be a nice night for them on Saturday in Edmonton.