Calgary Flames Post-Game: Special teams powers Flames to win over Kings

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
3 months ago
The Calgary Flames returned home on Saturday night to host the Los Angeles Kings. The Flames were pretty sharp, the Kings were pretty sloppy, and the home side rode a strong performance from their power play to battle their way to a 4-2 victory over the Kings.
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The victory snaps a five game losing streak for the Flames.

The rundown

The Flames had a strong start to the game, and ended up opening scoring just shy of five minutes into the contest.
After Mikael Backlund drew a high-sticking minor penalty, the Flames’ power play went to work… and scored extremely quickly. After an offensive zone face-off win, the Flames cycled the puck and Andrei Kuzmenko found Nazem Kadri parked in front of the Kings’ net. Kadri poked the puck past David Rittich to give Calgary a 1-0 lead.
The Kings got a power play of their own shortly thereafter, with Joel Hanley heading to the box for holding. Eight seconds into the Kings’ advantage, Adrian Kempe leaned into a one-timer feed from Drew Doughty and fired it past Jacob Markstrom to make it a 1-1 hockey game.
Just past the midway mark of the first, the Flames grabbed another lead. This time, they won a puck battle inside the Kings’ blueline and took the puck to the net with a nice passing sequence. It ended with Kuzmenko finding Martin Pospisil at the far side of the net for a quick redirect that gave the Flames a 2-1 lead.
First period shots were 16-4 Flames (12-3 Flames at five-on-five) and, via Natural Stat Trick, five-on-five scoring chances were 11-6 Flames (high-dangers were 4-2 Flames).
Midway through the second period, the Flames got some insurance as their power play scored again. After Matt Coronato drew a minor, the Flames’ second unit grabbed a goal. Rasmus Andersson’s point shot was stopped by Rittich, but Blake Coleman grabbed the rebound and chipped it into the net to make it 3-1 Flames.
But the Kings responded back with another power play goal before the end of the second period. With Connor Zary in the sin bin, Andersson was hobbled by a shot block, which opened a passing lane from Kempe to Anze Kopitar for a quick redirection past Markstrom to cut the home side’s lead to 3-2.
Second period shots were 9-5 Flames (3-1 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 5-4 Flames (high-dangers were 1-1).
The Kings pressed throughout the third period, but Markstrom made a lot of sharp saves.
The Flames added to their lead on the power play, as MacKenzie Weegar snuck down from the point after a face-off win and fired a pass from Jonathan Huberdeau past Rittich to make it 4-2 Flames.
The Kings pulled Rittich for the extra attacker and pressed late in regulation. But the Flames held on for the victory.
Third period shots were 10-9 Flames (8-7 Kings at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 10-6 Flames (high-dangers were 3-3).

Why the Flames won

Let’s give the home side credit: they were sharp in this one. They played with pace and structure, and they jumped all over the miscues the Kings made. And, to their credit, the Kings made quite a few miscues. They were far from sharp, and the Flames seemed perfectly content to take what was given to them.
The Flames were rock-solid at five-on-five and won the special teams battle. On most evenings, that will earn your side two points.
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Red Warrior

We’re giving a joint award. Kadri was superb in this game and his line was quite effective, especially in the offensive zone. And while Markstrom was terribly busy, he was flat-out excellent in the third period. When the Flames were clinging to a one goal lead, he was a big, big difference-maker for them.

Turning point

We’re going to broadly say the Flames’ power plays. Yes, all of them. On a lot of occasions, they just haven’t been very good when up a man and it’s hurt them, actually helping disrupt any momentum built at five-on-five. Against the Kings, the PP units were really effective and made the Kings’ night miserable.

This and that

After missing Thursday’s game in St. Louis with a minor ailment, Oliver Kylington slotted back into the lineup. Nikita Okhotiuk was bumped to the sidelines as a result.
This was the South Asian Celebration game at the Saddledome. There was a lot of great merch made with an alternate logo by local artist Zoe Harveen Kaur Sihota, a ceremonial puck drop, and performers at each intermission. As usual, the Flames’ event staff did a fabulous job.
The last time the Flames scored three power play goals in a single game, it was Feb. 22, 2023 against Arizona.

Up next

The Flames (34-34-5) host the Anaheim Ducks at the ‘Dome on Tuesday night.

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