Smarting from a pair of losses in two earlier games in California, the Flames headed back south to Los Angeles hoping that the City of Angels would finally give them a better ending than their games with Anaheim or San Jose. And moreover, the team’s coaching staff probably hoped for a better effort level from their club, especially after recalling a pair of new bodies hoping to get into the line-up.
Oh, and Mike Cammalleri joined the Flames for this game. That may be important later…
Pretty even first period. Not a high event period, as we saw a lot of broken plays and mis-timed rushes on either side. A few decent chances for the Kings and a few for the Flames, but generally nothing that amounted to much five-on-five. Curtis Glencross and Lee Stempniak had minor penalties. While the Flames managed to kill off Glencross’ snafu, they left Drew Doughty alone at the point briefly on the Stempniak kill and gave up a power-play goal to put the Kings up 1-0. Not only was it yet another power-play goal, it was yet another goal late in a period. The Flames were out-shot 8-4, out-Corsied 20-9 and out-chanced 5-3 in the first period.
The second period was much more eventful. This time, the Flames managed to kill their only penalty. But the Kings got into penalty trouble, something which factored in on all three goals in the period. After Kyle Clifford took a penalty for holding, the Flames capitalized. Mark Giordano took the puck into the Kings zone and ate a shoulder-check from Matt Greene, but he shuffled the puck over to Jir Hudler, wh fed Mike Cammalleri for his patented one-timer to tie the game at 1-apiece.
The Kings pressed mid-way through the period, including on a power-play, but Karri Ramo made two gorgeous saves that caused Rob Kerr to lose his mind on commentary. One was on a Justin Williams partial break-away on the power-play, the other was on a one-timer attempt that Ramo stone-walled. Shortly after that save, the Kings took another penalty and the Flames responded once again. This time, it was a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play involving Jiri Hudler, Mark Giordano, Mike Cammalleri and, what do ya know, Sean Monahan. Monahan got his sixth goal of his young career, and presumably called his real estate agent when he got to the bench.
But the Kings took another penalty late, which led to a short-handed marker for the Kings. Long story short: Jeff Carter smartly fore-checked and took advantage of some loosey-goosey defensive-zone play by the Flames, whipping a turnover towards the Flames net. It either went off Mike Richards or Dennis Wideman and in, but either way, the game was tied at 2-apiece. And yes, once again, the Flames gave up a goal late in a period – this time negating a lead on the road. The Flames and Kings both had 11 shots on net in the second. The Flames were narrowly out-Corsied the Kings 20-16 and out-chanced them 7-6.
It was a back and forth third period for basically the entire period. There were no penalty calls, including Dan Carillo bonking into Karri Ramo in front of his net. Finally, the Flames pressed and Anze Kopitar took a neutral zone penalty on Dennis Wideman. Tie game, third period, late power-play on the road, and the Flames capitalized. Curtis Glencross and Jiri Hudler battled down low and fed the puck out to T.J. Brodie at the point, who fired the puck past Jonathan Quick to give the Flames a 3-2 lead, and that’s how it ended. All three periods had late goals, but the Flames came away with two points. The Flames and Kings each had 10 shots on net in the third, while the Flames had an edge in third period Corsi at 22-18.
WHY THE FLAMES WON
First-off, Karri Ramo was fantastic, even when the Flames played fire drill in their own end or the puck took weird bounces, both of which happened quite a bit.
Secondly, the Flames were opportunistic with the extra man, scoring three power-play goals and leaning heavily on Mike Cammalleri’s face-off prowess on the PP.
Finally, the Kings weren’t great tonight. They had chances to put the Flames down and either failed to do so or just didn’t try to. Case in point, look at the power-plays and blocked shots – the Flames scored three goals on seven power-play shots AND had 17 blocked shots on the night. The Kings? One goal on three shots and only nine blocks. Even when you account for the difference in power-plays (Calgary had six, the Kings three), the Kings really should have been closer to even on blocks if they were having a good game.
FLAME(S) OF THE GAME
I’m declaring a tie!
Mike Cammalleri returned and, in his first actual hockey game this season, had a goal and an assist. He played 16:33 and was the only Flames player to win a lot of face-offs, particuarly key offensive draws on the power-play.
And Karri Ramo was excellent, making many key saves – including a pair of beauties in the second – and generally using his pads and athleticism to cover up several Flames defensive zone blemishes.
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SUM IT UP
The Flames improve their record to 4-2-2 on the year and finally puck up a deuce in California, the bane of their existance. They’re back at it tomorrow evening in Phoenix, facing the Coyotes. The puck drops at 8pm MT and you can catch the game on Sportsnet TV, the Fan 960 radio and, of course, right here.