Well, in his first game against his former team behind the Kings bench, it was Darryl Sutter coming out victorious against the Calgary Flames, taking a fairly impressive 4-1 win on Saturday night. It was one of those games that was really close to begin, and fairly evenly played throughout, but after LA took their 1-0 lead, they slowly controlled more and more of the game. It snaps Calgary’s eight game winning streak on Saddledome ice.
I thought both teams came to play in the first period, with scoring chances generated on both sides. It was even, both goaltenders came to play, and it looked exactly like the type of game we’d be seeing. Los Angeles plays things very close to the vest, and they didn’t give up a ton, and when they did, Jonathan Quick was equal to the task. Both team’s had a powerplay, but things were scoreless after one.
It took just 27 seconds of second period play for the Kings to open the scoring on an unfortunate bounce. The puck skipped over Mark Giordano’s stick at the defensive blueline, allowing Mike Richards a breakaway opportunity. He’d slip it under Miikka Kiprusoff for his 14th of the season. At 3:02, Matt Greene’s third of the season came from the right point on an innocuous looking shot. With traffic in front, the puck got by Kiprusoff for a two goal lead. A powerplay for the Kings allowed them the opportunity to stretch the lead to three. Anze Kopitar would score his 14th from the left side of the net to put this one a little further out of reach. But, a powerplay for the Flames gave Mike Cammalleri a nice moment in his first game back with the team. Anton Babchuk’s point shot was tipped very nicely by #93 for his first with Calgary and tenth of the season.
The third period was fairly low event overall, with just five scoring chances combined between the teams. That played right into the hands of the Kings, as they’re as good a team as you’ll find in shutting things down. Dustin Brown’s empty netter at 19:03 sealed another win for LA; they now have points in 11 of the 12 games coached by Darryl.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames lost? The opening minutes of the second period did them in for the most part, as the Richards goal kinda sent th team into a temporary tailspin. The Kings scored one more in that span, added another one later on the powerplay and then shut things down in a very impressive manner. Calgary wasn’t overly bad at all tonight, they were pretty competitive but ended up losing the game against a pretty decent opponent. The Flames also got worked pretty well by LA’s top players, as Iginla, Cammalleri et al had trouble keeping up to the Kopitar, Williams, and Brown line.
I liked Blair Jones, centering Calgary’s third line with Blake Comeau and Lance Bouma. He saw time both shorthanded and on the powerplay, but he was pretty effective even strength, which is why he gets the nod. Jones spent a lot of time in the offensive end and the puck was constantly on his stick when the Flames were moving north.
Sum It Up
Hey, you win some, you lose some. The Flames played a fairly effective game overall, but the Kings are a pretty good squad, and they played better. Brent Sutter said it best following the game: in a playoff game, if you play well for 55 but get away from it for five, you’re going to lose. That’s kinda what happened on this night. Now, the Flames head off on the road for a tough pair of games in California followed by a matchup with the Oilers in one week.