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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

          • 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 !

        • 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.

    • 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.

  • Flamesforever

    Was I watching a different game?! We were sloppy? The Shots were 37-14.. they were lucky to score 1 goal. It looked like domination to me. Kings did a good job getting sticks in lanes and that’s about all they could do tonight lol. GFG ?

  • Alberta Ice

    Briefly the Ducks led us by a point in the Pacific tonight; now we are on top by a point – with 2 games in hand on the Ducks. LA looked out of gas at the end of that game. Yes, the ‘one pass too many’ (and often thrown back from the net instead of at it) almost cost us this game. Got to be better against the better teams of the League. GFG.

  • MontanaMan

    Wondering if JG was a little miffed at Ryan’s question regarding his line’s play in the last game and being called out. At the end of the interview, Johnny muttered “great interview”. Reading too much into it?

  • buts

    There are so many tiny details from line changes to matchups to breakouts that make you realize how bad GG was the last 2 years. That 2nd empty netter…. the passing was perfect. Great job there BP.

  • Mickey O'Reaves

    On a side note, I thought James Neal was definitely quicker from the start of the year and had some urgency in his game. Monahan didn’t do too much, but that is just nit-picking. Kylington looked as if he belonged.

    Can’t really think of anyone who had a bad game, to be honest. Solid effort, lads.

      • Stockton's Finest

        Nothing but what MacLean said “Upper Body”. He is at the games signing autographs in between 2nd and 3rd period. A friend asked about when he was coming back but Parsons blew off the question.

      • Stockton's Finest

        Fast. He was with Phillips and Gawdin on what I am calling the Pee Wee line. But all 3 can skate. He had a point blank chance but took one too many moves and Budaj stopped him. If he would have one-timed the shot he would have scored. But 2 assists, both primary, is not a bad start.
        But San Jose tomorrow so let’s hope he is ready.

        • Albertabeef

          Lol I had that line together at the start of the season, but Dube never got sent down with the rest till now. Good to see the line click. Phillips isn’t as skilled as Johnny but his hockey IQ is up there. I think Dube and Phillips have known each other for a very long time, I think I heard they have a Calgary area connection plus opposite sides for WHL years too. Looking forward to seeing how things blossom there.

  • flames2015

    Flames first in the division with a plus 14 goal differential and Anaheim is in 2nd with a minus 14 differential. God this division is horrible, and its our time to make some noise!

    • The Doctor

      Agree, but my guess is that by the end of the season, San Jose will have a decisive winning record. And I think Vegas just might be getting their act together, and they have MAF in goal playing well now.

  • Calgarycandle

    Smith taketh away letting in a weak goal; Smith giveth making a great stop to keep LA from taking the lead in a game they should never have been in if nets didn’t have posts.

    Kylington so far looks like he belongs. So far I am not seeing him as a defensive liability and he definitely shows offensive flair. What gives on the blue line next year?

    Man, was I happy to see a Gaudreau goal finally cross the line tonight.

    • Mickey O'Reaves

      T.J. Brodie still isn’t very good at defence, and he’s getting the Gio bump. Plus the Flames still need a mutant take-no-prisoners nutcase in the lineup somewhere.

      If the Blues decide they might go into an on-the-fly rebuild, Colton Parayko could become available. The Flames have been sniffing around him for years, and he’d be a great fit in Calgary.

      • calgaryfan

        Brodie has been covering for Gio a lot this year. Gio has been playing a more offensive game this year. Brodie is playing very good not sure what games you are watching.

      • Mickey O'Reaves

        Brodie gets out-muscled from the puck 5 times a game.
        I sorta like defensemen to be able to play defence.

        Brodie does look way better this year, on his ‘off’ side.
        But you can’t keep everyone and he really should be trade bait.

  • Mickey O'Reaves

    Really liked Versteeg in the intermission when they replayed some of his commentary from the local skills game. “Hands of Stone…” in the hardest shot competition.

    He was quick to point out that some of the stuff about Brouwer was edited from the tape, you could just tell Steeger had an axe to grind…ha!

      • Mickey O'Reaves

        Been super busy these days…but sure if you guys are planning a trip up north it would be cool to meet the Finests again. Hopefully get a slightly bigger welcoming party out as well this time, ha.

        Maybe let the FN lads and lasses know well in advance…you got a game figured yet for the trek in February? Just keep us posted, eh.

          • Mickey O'Reaves

            Sounds good, SF!

            If you guys can rustle up some more goodies — like free Heat hats and posters — it may give some critters a push to meet up. Who knows…

            Thursday, February 7, 2019 … date circled on calendar, I should be around.

          • Stockton's Finest

            Cool. I am working with the Heat again to bring up a few more hats. I will have a few more posts as the date gets closer. I had one about a month ago when everything got ticketed and hotels booked. Doing a 2 game road trip this time around, as we head to Vancouver to catch the Flames on Saturday against the Canucks.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Somehow Johnny has found that laser shot he had when he first broke in the league. He is so much more dangerous when he is a threat to score now defenders and goalies can’t play him to pass all the time.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I think we got a taste of the clogging of the neutral zone that we should expect to see in a playoff push. Kjillington is playing great, I was not sure he could clean up his defensive game. He definitely has some dimensions that Ras and Val don’t have.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Czarnik has been a bit unlucky, it looks like he could turn the corner but he needs to drive the net more instead of playing in the periphery. I feel Mangi will show some offense.