The top two teams in the Pacific faced off for just the second time so far in 2021–22. Not many people would have slotted the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings as tops in the division, but that’s where they’re at. While the game had little implications for the Flames’ playoff chances, it’s still a potential four-point game that could either create even bigger separation for the Flames in the standings, or allow the Kings to draw closer towards the number one seed.
The Kings were coming in fresh off a shootout loss against the Edmonton Oilers, so they were a tired squad. This showed right away in the first period, as the Flames had more chances by volume in the first period. However, the Kings actually had the lion’s share of scoring chances and had more some Grade A opportunities that didn’t convert.
The game remained scoreless after one, as both Jacob Markstrom and Cal Petersen were up to the task.
In the opening shift, the Flames’ first line had a rare gaffe that led to a turnover on a line change, and the Kings capitalised on the chance. Alex Iafallo had no defender on him as he went one-on-one versus Markstrom and ended up beating the Flames’ goaltender to open the scoring.
Calgary pushed back throughout the period but were unable to score. Through 40 mintes of play, the Kings put on a clinic on how to handle a back-to-back game. The Flames were clogged up in the neutral zone and were unable to generate any strong offensive sequences at all.
As frustrating as it was for the Flames, it was a good test to see how they can play against a team like the Kings, especially as they could very well be an eventual playoff opponent. However, Calgary was not really able to solve this part of their game very well and the Kings maintained a 1–0 lead heading into the third.
Fortunately for Calgary, the third period opened up with a power play. The first unit was unable to score, but as the second unit came on, Johnny Gaudreau was the last player and remained on the ice before changing. Cue a Gaudreau goal with the assists coming from Calle Jarnkrok and Noah Hanifin—a rare combination connecting for the tying goal.
The puck was shot from afar by Hanifin, ricocheted off Jarnkrok right to Johnny parked at the far circle with a wide open net to sweep the puck in.
Later in the period, the Flames got their first lead of the game thanks to an Erik Gudbranson shot from the blueline that went through traffic straight into the net. It’d be his sixth goal of the season, having never scored more than four in a campaign before.
Looking to shut the game down at this point, the Flames instead ceded a tying goal to the Kings. With some puck movement behind the net, Phillip Danault sent a backhand pass below the goal line to Viktor Arvidsson for a quick one-timer that beat Markstrom.
The game would require extra time to solve.
In overtime, Elias Lindholm was called for holding and the Kings went on a 4-on-3 power play. They couldn’t solve Markstrom however, and despite putting putting up six shots in overtime, the game would require a shootout—the Kings’ second straight shootout in as many nights.
Lias Andersson scored the only goal in the shootout and the Kings ultimately spoil the Flames’ night. 3–2 Kings, final score. The Flames now sit at 89 points in 67 games played while the Kings trail with 84 points in 70 games.
Data visualisations of the game are below.
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