83Rasmus Andersson
Photo Credit: Bruce Fedyck/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames grind out two points against Kings

For the second consecutive game, the Calgary Flames weren’t at their best on Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Luckily for them they were playing the Los Angeles Kings, the Pacific Division’s worst team. The Flames edged the Kings 4-1 in a sloppy game.

The Rundown

The Flames have chased quite often in games this season, but they managed to open the scoring just 36 seconds into this game. Mikael Backlund beat Cal Petersen off the rush with a quick wrist shot to make it 1-0 Flames.

The rest of the period was pretty scrambly, with the Flames and Kings playing a game where passes were either deflected or flat-out missed their intended target in the neutral zone or just inside the blueline. As a result, things went back and forth quite a bit. The Kings had a few near-miss chances, but the Flames picked up the pace late in the period and had a few near-misses of their own.

Shots were 9-4 Flames, but scoring chances were even at 6-6.

The middle frame was very similar to the first, albeit with the Flames enjoying a lot of offensive zone time but not being able to bury their chances – the theme of the period was “one pass too many.”

The Kings tied the game with about six minutes left, with Austin Wagner forcing a turnover underneath the goal line and finding Adrian Kempe for a one-timer that beat Mike Smith short side (inside the post) to make it a 1-1 hockey game.

The Flames pressed late in the period, including a very long stretch (including three icings) inside the Kings zone without a line change for the visitors.

Shots were 10-5 Flames and chances 4-4.

The third period was more of the same, with the Flames pressing for the lead. Noah Hanifin blew a tire at the blueline and the Kings got a two-on-one opportunity. Smith made a big blocker save on Dustin Brown and the play went the other way, leading to Austin Czarnik drawing a penalty. On the ensuing power play, Johnny Gaudreau buried a shuffle pass from Elias Lindholm past a sprawling Petersen to make it a 2-1 game.

That was all she wrote, and the Flames managed to hold on for the victory. Backlund and Sean Monahan added empty-netters to finish the Kings off late. Shots were 15-8 Flames and chances were 16-4 Flames in the final period.

Why the Flames Won

The Flames weren’t great and their puck management in particular was shaky for the first two periods. But the Kings aren’t a great team this season and the Flames, even fighting the puck for much of the game, were effective enough to grind out a win.

Red Warrior

Gaudreau was feeling it offensively on this occasion. His linemates were up and down throughout the game, but Gaudreau really worked hard to generate chances.

The Turning Point

The Smith save was huge, as it kept the game tied and led to Czarnik drawing a penalty and the go-ahead goal. If that puck gets past Smith, it’s an entirely different game.

And it’s probably a Flames loss.

The Numbers

(Percentage stats are 5-on-5, data via Corsica.Hockey)

Player Corsi
For%
OZone
Start%
Game
Score
Monahan 82.6 66.7 2.135
Lindholm 78.3 75.0 2.620
Gaudreau 74.1 66.7 1.775
Hanifin 71.9 75.0 0.850
Hamonic 69.0 75.0 0.550
Tkachuk 57.9 66.7 1.800
Bennett 57.7 80.0 1.000
Brodie 56.7 66.7 1.175
Backlund 55.6 80.0 3.030
Ryan 55.0 57.1 0.410
Neal 54.6 80.0 0.200
Giordano 53.3 66.7 0.475
Kylington 52.9 0.0 -0.100
Andersson 52.6 0.0 0.150
Czarnik 50.0 80.0 0.145
Hathaway 50.0 33.3 0.550
Lomberg 45.5 33.3 -0.050
Jankowski 41.7 25.0 -0.070
Smith 0.550
Rittich

This and That

The Flames commemorated Dion Phaneuf’s recent 1,000th NHL game with a pre-game gift and a video tribute in the first TV timeout.

Bill Peters’ Third Period Line Shuffle Machine appeared briefly in the third period, producing these new lines:

  • Gaudreau – Monahan – Ryan
  • Neal – Jankowski – Czarnik

After the Flames took the lead, the Line Shuffle Machine was switched off for the night.

Up Next

The Flames (15-9-2) fly to Chicago tomorrow. They visit the Blackhawks on Sunday night.