For whatever reason, games between the Kings and Flames haven’t been the most interesting of contests these past few years. That didn’t change tonight, as both teams doddered their way to a 3-1 decision in favour of the Kings.
While Calgary eventually outchanced the Kings 18-14 and were only outshot by a small margin (27-33, both of which can be blamed on score effects), the reality is the effort displayed by the Flames tonight was sub-par at best.
Dustin Brown opened the scoring with the Kings’ 7th shot less than 7 minutes into the game. Hard to blame that one on MacDonald, as there was 4 Flames just sitting in front of the net when the goal was scored. The ice was pretty one-sided to start with, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone: the Kings seem to have issues scoring but they haven’t had issues outshooting teams since Darryl Sutter took over. A nice little dangle by TJ Brodie around the 9-minute mark resulted in a chance but Bernier turned the puck away quite easily. Another chance for the Flames developed after a Voynov giveaway right in front of the Kings’ net, leading to both Iginla and Cammalleri whacking at the puck; but to no avail.
The Flames finally broke through when Iginla completely dominated Voynov down low, getting the puck to Brodie in the slot and Brodie sniped one right past Bernier for his first of the year. Iginla picked up his 9th assist of the year on the play. The Kings would respond quickly afterwards as Trevor Lewis took advantage of a huge rebound, putting it just out of reach of MacDonald’s blocker. Shots would finish 8-11, as the Kings would only muster 4 shots in the final 13 minutes of the period. Chances ended up being 8-5 for the Flames, meaning LA’s early dominance didn’t quite continue throughout the whole period.
The first few minutes of the second were pretty uneventful until Trevor Lewis decided to bowl over MacDonald, prompting this tweet from Eric Francis:
Great example of why flames aren’t taken seriously by teams. Goalie gets rammed and no one does a thing. #soft
— Eric Francis (@EricFrancis) February 21, 2013
What a moron. You want to know what’s better than two goons beating each other? A goal on the PP.
Regardless, a couple brutal penalty calls later the Kings unleashed a flurry of chances on the Calgary net, but MacDonald made a couple of stops and absolutely robbed Anze Kopitar. Props to Matt Stajan on the PK as well, clearing a couple of good chances out of the zone. The period would continue to be back and forth, without much of note happening. Shots in the period would be 7-12 and chances were 2-7 in favour of the Kings.
The Flames started the third off badly; being gifted a PP and then proceeding to spend as much time in their own zone as they did in the Kings’ zone. Neither team mustered much of anything until the 7 minute mark when Jeff Carter streaked down the sidewall and fired a puck high blocker side on MacDonald. MacDonald would make that stop, but about 2 minutes later Carter would redeem himself as his wrist shot just snuck through the five hole of JMac, giving the Kings a 3-1 lead.
MacDonald would make another strong stop with about 8 minutes left, coming across the net to rob Jake Muzzin of an easy tap-in. Bernier would respond with a big save of his own, shutting the door on Mike Cammalleri right in front of the net. The Flames would press a little as the period wound down, but it was all for naught as the Kings would win 3-1. Shots in the period were 12-10 and chances were 8-2, both in favour of the Flames.
Why the Flames Lost…
Pretty simple: they were chasing too much of the game because Los Angeles is a better team. There were some good efforts by a few Flames players, but “good efforts” from a “few” guys isn’t going to win you games at the NHL level, unless those guys are Crosby, Giroux, Stamkos and Weber.
I’m going to give this one to Joey MacDonald, as he made a couple of nice stops and the team hung him out to dry a pretty significant amount tonight. Iginla and Brodie receive honourable mentions.
Sum It Up
The boobirds rained down after the game, and I can’t say I’m surprised about it. Earlier in the year, the Flames were outchancing their opponents and losing, and I guess I was okay with that. However, the past couple of games haven’t followed that script. They’ve been outchanced, outshot and outscored and I’m left wondering what else the team can do to compete this year. Maybe a bit doom-and-gloom, but unless Kiprusoff comes back and the team can string some wins together with league-average (or close to it) goaltending, I can’t see how they’ll make any kind of dent in the playoff picture.
The forwards and defenders have been good enough thus far, but the goaltending hasn’t. I think it’s just a matter of hoping the goaltending situation will improve quickly at this point.