On Wednesday night in Anaheim, the Calgary Flames were the better team but were let down by their goaltending. On Saturday night in Los Angeles, they were the better team and also got good goaltending. They shut out the Los Angeles Kings by a 1-0 score at Staples Center.
The Flames had a strong start to the game, generating lots of zone time and chances off the rush. They opened the scoring 2:26 into the first period off the rush. Austin Czarnik entered the Kings zone, then dished it off to Travis Hamonic. Hamonic’s shot with a Garnet Hathaway screen beat Jack Campbell to make it 1-0 for the visitors.
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The Kings came back in the second half of the period and got some chances, but David Rittich was strong. Shots were 8-8 in the first and scoring chances were 10-7 Kings.
It was a super scrambley second period, with a bunch of scoring chances broken up with sticks and a lot of turnovers for each team. Nobody scored, though. Shots were 12-4 Flames and chances 8-4 Flames.
The final period of regulation was a bit more structured, with the Flames getting some early chances but having to defend a lot in the later stages of the game due to a pair of late Kings power plays. But the penalty kill and Rittich were rock-solid and they held on for the victory. Shots were 15-9 Flames and chances were 9-6 Flames.
Why the Flames Won
The Kings really didn’t generate much offensively, nor did the Flames give them much in the way of mistakes.
This was a tight-checking game, but the Flames did a good job avoid miscues. The Kings are a team with a new coach and they’re currently emphasizing structure and discipline. The Flames were able to hang with them, and out-structured them for stretches of the game. Their discipline wasn’t quite there, but their penalty killing (and goaltending) were when their discipline faltered.
We’re doing a dual award. Hamonic was superb tonight and played easily his best game as a Flame. He was active in all three zones, made smart defensive plays to negate Kings chances and created several Flames opportunities.
And what can you say about “Big Save Dave”? He was rock-solid for the Flames and played a simple game that didn’t see him have to scramble around his crease very much. He made the saves the team needed him to make and earned his first career NHL shutout.
The Turning Point
The Hamonic goal early on gave the Flames a rare early lead and avoided them spending another game chasing. Honourable mention to the pair of third period penalty kills, as the Flames really didn’t allow the Kings very much in terms of momentum through those kills.
(Percentage stats are 5-on-5, data via Corsica.Hockey)
This and That
The Flames out-shot the Kings 3-0 on Flames power plays, but the Kings managed a 3-2 edge in shots on Kings power plays. Overall, the Flames out-shot the Kings 5-3 in all special teams situations – though they didn’t score.
The Flames limited the Kings to just six high-danger scoring chances (via Natural Stat Trick), extending their streak of keeping their opponents to fewer than 10 chances to seven consecutive games. They’re 5-1-1 in that stretch.
The Flames (10-6-1) ship up the California coast to the Bay Area tonight. They visit the San Jose Sharks tomorrow night.