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The Calgary Flames showed their potential in Saturday’s defensively stingy win over the Kings

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
19 days ago
Since the beginning of the 2023-24 season, Calgary Flames head coach Ryan Huska has spoken at length about how his team needs to play in order to have success. On Saturday night, against a Los Angeles Kings team that hasn’t punched their ticket to the playoffs quite yet, the Flames were equal parts strong on the power play and stingy at even strength en route to a 4-2 home victory.
Aside from giving up a pair of power play goals – one coming off a broken play following a shot block that hobbled Rasmus Andersson late in the second period – there wasn’t much to criticize about the home side. The Flames out-shot the Kings in all three periods, never trailed in the game, and were quite stingy defensively.
“Five on five, I don’t think we really gave them anything,” said Andersson following the game. “A lot of shot blocks. Paying the price. Scoring a few goals on the power play. So there was a lot to like about our game. You know, I don’t know how many shots they have after two periods, but it wasn’t many. It was a lot to like from our team tonight.”
Saturday was the seventh time this season the Flames have allowed zero goals at five-on-five – they’re now 6-1-0 when they pull off that feat. 14 shots allowed at five-on-five was tied for the third-fewest they’ve given up in a game. Heading into Saturday night, they were averaging 23.3 five-on-five shots against and 2.2 five-on-five goals against per outing.
Suffice it to say, Saturday’s game built on a similar effort on Thursday against the Blues – with an identical 14 five-on-five shots allowed – and improved upon it.
“I loved it tonight,” assessed Huska of his club’s defensive game. “I thought we did a really good job. You know, I think for us it’s more about the pressure up the ice, I think, that allowed us to have some success. And then I thought our guys were very detailed in the neutral zone, so they did a good job with our structure and made it hard for them to get through us. And then when they did in the third period a little bit, I thought Marky was excellent.”
The Flames received goals from Nazem Kadri, Martin Pospisil, Blake Coleman and MacKenzie Weegar in the victory, while Jacob Markstrom made 16 saves for the victory. Speaking following the game, Weegar discussed his team’s defensive efforts in front of their goaltender.
“Our goal is not to let any goals in,” said Weegar. “Our goal is to break the puck out easy, and then play offensively. I thought for the most part in that second period, I don’t even think they had maybe one shot on goal. Towards the end I think they got a couple with the power play. But just a great job blocking shots, taking a hit to get the puck out. You know, that’s what it takes to win in this league, sometimes it hurts.”
Speaking of blocking shots, Weegar led the Flames with seven credited blocks in the victory – several of them coming on the same penalty kill. Andersson was credited with a pair, including one that preceded the second Kings goal.
The playoff math is decidedly against the Flames, to the point where had they lost to Los Angeles they would have been only alive by virtue of standings tiebreakers. In terms of making the playoffs or not this season, the die has been cast.
However, the final stretch of games could be really important for the Flames to set some standards for their play to carry over to the 2024-25 season. Saturday’s outing set a strong baseline for what the Flames are capable of when they play their style of game. We’ll see if they can replicate such an effort over their remaining nine outings.
The Flames are back in action on Tuesday when they host the Anaheim Ducks.
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