HBO’s The Wire taught us all that if you come at the king, you best not miss. On Monday night, the Calgary Flames had several opportunities to beat the Los Angeles Kings. But they failed to bury their chances, frequently, en route to a 3-0 setback to the Kings.
The Kings got on the board early, scoring on their second shot of the game just 57 seconds in. A Derek Forbort shot through traffic was redirected by Jeff Carter in front, beating Mike Smith to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.
The home side had a few opportunities to get one back in the opening period, including three power plays that saw the Flames combine for eight shots and zero goals. They took a pair of late penalties, ending the period with 42 seconds of a five-on-three to kill off – the remainder spilled over into the second period.
Shots were 15-7 Flames and scoring chances 6-5 Flames in the opening period.
The second period was full of defensive stands, missed passes and was generally a period that was to be skipped through if you found it on your PVR. The Flames killed off the remainder of their five-on-three PK, then got a few good scoring chances, then the game became a bit choppy and dull.
Shots were 16-7 Flames and scoring chances 10-5 Flames in the middle period.
The Flames pressed throughout the third period. Midway through the period the Kings added to their lead, as Travis Hamonic was caught up ice after a scoring chance and Johny Brodzinski beat Smith with a wrist shot off the rush to make it 2-0 for the visitors.
Tyler Toffoli added an empty netter to ice this one, making the final 3-0 for the Kings. Shots were 11-6 Flames and scoring chances 9-4 Flames in the third.
Why the Flames Lost
The Flames never really seemed to find their next gear. They dominated possession and put the puck on net with regularity, but they didn’t generate enough secondary chances, screens or tips, and their Harlem Globetrotter-esque multi-man passing plays never quite connected the way they usually do.
Jack Campbell was really, really good, but the Flames didn’t do nearly enough to make his life difficult.
Smith gave up a couple goals, but he was as engaged and energetic as he’s been all season. The goals he gave up – a tip through traffic and a goal on an odd man rush – weren’t really on him, but rather on his team’s defensive lapses.
The Turning Point
Let’s go with Drew Doughty’s third period penalty and the ensuing power play. The Flames had a golden opportunity to turn the Doughty/Matthew Tkachuk theatrics into a goal. Instead, the Flames couldn’t even register a shot on goal during their advantage.
(Percentage stats are 5-on-5, data via Natural Stat Trick)
This and That
As was expected, Doughty was booed every time he touched the puck after his comments earlier in the day lambasting Tkachuk.
— The Pull Bot (@ThePullBot) March 26, 2019
The Flames pulled Smith with 4:40 remaining in the third.
The Flames (47-22-7) are back in action on Wednesday night when they host the Dallas Stars.