The first period was all about the powerplay. Tobias Rieder took an interference penalty midway through the period and Anze Kopitar put the Kings up 1-0. Mikael Backlund took a penalty a few minutes later and Drew Doughty doubled their lead. However, on a powerplay, Milan Lucic scores his 200th career goal to cut the King’s lead down to one.
Early in the second, Zac Rinaldo tied the game assisted by Dillon Dube and Rieder. Later in the frame, Johnny Gaudreau sped through centre, beat a number of Kings, then fed it in front to Sean Monahan who put it in the back of the net. This extends his point streak to five games, and put the Flames ahead 3-2. A few minutes after that, Rinaldo threw a hard hit on Nikolai Prokhorkin to which Kyle Clifford took exception. A fight ensued, and both players were done for the night.
Very early in the third, Dube got a quick goal to give the Flames a 4-2 lead. Dube’s second point marked his first multi-point game in the NHL. Just three minutes later, MattRoy got a clean shot off that beat Cam Talbot on a nice feed from Prokhorkin. But that was as close as the Kings would get as the Flames picked up a 4-3 win.
5v5 Player Stats
- Mark Giordano led the Flames with a 61.5% CF
- In exactly five minutes of icetime, Rinaldo posted a team low 38.5% CF prior to being sent off
- Dube was on the ice for two goals for and none against. He also posted a team high 81.6% xGF
Los angeles kings
- Clifford posted a team high 72.2% CF before being sent off
- Kempe posted a team low 39.1% CF
- Doughty was on the ice for five high danger chances against. The Flames were more dangerous when he was on the ice
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick
Thoughts on the Game
In a game that was expected to be action packed, hard hitting and physical, this game mostly lived up to the bill. It was hard hitting, physical, and had moments of heavy action. Unlike the game against the Buffalo Sabres, the Flames were not dominant most of the way through. They carried the game in stretches, but really got most of their chances on the odd rush or play up ice. They had the lion’s share of scoring chances and high danger chances, and capitalized on those to secure the victory.
Talbot had a great game . In a rare start for him, he looked poised and collected, stopping 30 of 33 shots that he faced. The one thing to work on for him is his rebound control, as he did not feel as solid compared to David Rittich. That being said, if he can play like that and the Flames can pick up some wins with him in net, this team could work their way back into the playoff picture.
Once again Gaudreau was back to his incredible self. Weaving through Kings, getting into dangerous positions, and not taking those low percentage shots from the goal line, the dynamic forward fed Monahan right in front of the net in a play that we saw all too often last season. A sharp change from the first line’s earlier struggles.
One thing about this current run has been the amount of secondary scoring the team has gotten. In this game, it was Rinaldo, Dube, and Lucic who had his second in two games. Last season, many fans were concerned about an over-reliance on the top players, but this season, it has been very nice to see the bottom six really find the net. Hopefully this is a trend that continues.
As mentioned ever since the line was created, Derek Ryan with Lucic and Dube has been excellent. With an aggressive pressing, a nose for the net, and a strong understanding of how each other plays, this line has been sensational. With Sam Bennett and Austin Czarnik nearing return, it seems unlikely that the Flames will want to send Dube back down to Stockton. He is definitely making a strong case for remaining with the big club.
In the final analysis, the Flames took advantage of their chances, and then locked down at the end to secure the win. There were stretches where they looked like the team they were against Buffalo, but not enough. They will need to work on really taking the game to their opponents. While the NHL is a very tight league, with even the bottom teams capable of beating the top teams on any given night, these were games that the Flames should have been capable of winning reasonably comfortably. They will need to bring their A-game against Colorado in the next game.
The Gaud, the Bad, and the Beautiful
Good: Another game, another win! The Flames extend their point streak to six games.
Bad: Two powerplay goals against on two power plays in the first period. The Flames need to stay tight on their penalty kill.
Beautiful: Vintage Johnny Hockey skating through most of the King’s players and feeding Sean Monahan was truly beautiful
Opponent: Colorado Avalanche
Standings: 2nd in the Central
Season Series: 0-2-0
Photo by: Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images