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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

And it’s probably a Flames loss.

The Numbers

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

Player Corsi
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

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.

        • everton fc

          I didn’t get to see the game, but I was happy to read the many positive comments about Lomberg.

          Same people who hated Hathaway, will hate Lomberg. When Frolik returns, it won’t be Lomberg that gets benched, but Czarnik. And I find myself thinking Lazar might play well, under Peters.

          Glad Kylington’s settling in. Fantastic situation for our team, going forward.

          • Quinteco

            “Same people who hated Hathaway, will hate Lomberg.”
            I don’t think anyone “hates” either player. In fact, pretty much everyone can (and does) appreciate the effort they put in every game. But as NHL players, they are eminently replaceable. So long as they aren’t being paid $2.3 million a year to do it (e.g. Lance Bouma), then there’s not problem. Sub them in and out of the line-up as needed. It’s not hate to recognize, however, that there might be better, more complete player options out there.

          • Redleader

            Yeah Kylinton looks like he could be a future offensive threat , Brodie looks like the best skater in the league right now and playing like a stud , I like this defence and it’s only going to get betters as the season goes, This team is developing killer instincts!!!! When they need a goal I feel confident they can light it up!! Back in first and it feels soooo gooood !

    • Heeeeere’s Johnny

      Backlund doesn’t score that goal and my guess is this game goes south. Sometimes soft shots go in … that’s how guys get their shooting percentage back to their norm. Sorry that Backlund scoring disturbs you so much 😉

    • Albertabeef

      Even worse Neal-Ryan-Czarnik all minus 1 a piece, very not good to have them all together. Think Ryan has been the better of the three which was opposite of how I thought it would be at this point.