On Saturday night, the Calgary Flames got an early lead against the woeful Edmonton Oilers and went into cruise control. The Oilers got a third period goal to make it close, but the Flames were good enough to keep them at bay without any effort.
Tonight’s game was creepily similar, except for the fact that their opponent tonight was the Los Angeles Kings, the defending Stanley Cup champions, and that the hometown team needed a much more concerted effort to hold onto their lead and get two points.
But after two first period goals in rapid succession, the Calgary Flames held on – despite a second period Kings marker – to win their 20th game of the season, this time by a 2-1 score.
The game was pretty back and forth until mid-way through the first, when Jiri Hudler carried the puck into the Kings zone and drew a couple defenders over to him, opening up Curtis Glencross for a pass and one shot later, it was 1-0 Calgary. The Flames struck again shortly after, as Johnny Gaudreau, Hudler and Markus Granlund had a passing clinic, ending with Granlund tapping a shot past Jonathan Quick to make it 2-0. The period ended with shots at 7-7, but the Flames made the most of their chances and had a lead.
The second period featured a Kings team that really wanted to score a goal, and a Flames team that hoped that the clock would run just a little bit faster. The Kings out-shot the Flames 10-3 in the period, and finally beat Jonas Hiller late via a Tyler Toffoli shot in the last minute of the period. The Kings honestly could’ve had a few more, but Hiller (and his sweet new black mask) were up to the task.
The third period was just like the second, except it seemed like the clock ran even slower. Heck, the final buzzer went…and then the teams were called back onto the ice as there was still another 0.8 seconds left to go. Jonas Hiller was really good. The Flames tried their darnest to keep the Kings to the outside while being out-shot 10-5 by the visitors. The Kings scored zero goals. Everyone breathed a hearty sigh of relief.
WHY THE FLAMES WON
Jonas Hiller was better than Jonathan Quick.
I mean, the Flames did make the most of their chances and did their best to play a smart defensive game afterwards – rather than going shot-for-shot with a powerhouse team. But ultimately, the reason the Flames didn’t lose this game was because Hiller was great when he had to be.
Jonas Hiller. 26 saves and a few real beauties late in the game, allowing the Flames to capture two points against a divisional rival.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
SUM IT UP
The Flames now bring a 20-15-3 record into their final game of 2014, another home date with the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers play the Kings tomorrow night, so there’s a good chance they’ll be even more tired and demoralized than they have been when they return to Calgary for a rematch of Saturday night’s game.