Flames 4, Kings 3 (SO) Recap

Miikka who? - Derek Leung

The Flames blew a 3-0 lead to the LA Kings at home tonight, but rebounded to win the game 4-3 in the shootout thanks to goals by Jiri Hudler and Sean Monahan and an outstanding performance by Karri Ramo.

After losing their past two game to the Sharks and Canucks, the Flames were facing a frustrated Kings team tonight upon their return to the Saddledome.

But LA hadn't played for four days, and they looked every bit like it in the first period. The Kings took a while to find their feet, and it was a slow start to the game for both teams before TJ Galiardi broke the game open just past the midway mark of the opening frame for his fourth goal of the season. The Kings ended up out-shooting the Flames 11-7 in the first period, but left the ice trailing 1-0.

Galiardi got his second point of the night with his assist on Sean Monahan's 21st goal of the season to put the Flames up 2-0 just four minutes into the second period. Skating down the wing and behind the net, Galiardi executed a slick pass to Monahan, who was perfectly positioned in the slot to beat Jonathan Quick.

The Flames continued to press in the first half of the second period, and they took advantage of their opportunities as both teams were sloppy with giveaways. After a Kings turnover in the neutral zone, former King Kevin Westgarth stole the puck in the neutral zone and skated into LA's zone with Kenny Agostino and Matt Stajan.

His pass to Agostino bounced around a little bit before ending up on the stick of Matt Stajan, who somehow received the bouncing puck and scored his 14th goal of the season to put the Flames up 3-0. Tonight was Stajan's first game since April 1st, and the forward played almost 20 minutes in his return to the lineup. Despite what has clearly been a rough year for him off the ice, things have been going a lot better for Stajan on the ice this season; he has nearly tripled his goal total from last season and has already bested his point total by eight points.

The Flames' lead was not safe, however. Under a minute later, Jared Stoll scored to put the Kings on the board, and less than 30 seconds after that, Anze Kopitar scored to bring LA to within one. The Kings outshot the Flames 15-6 in the second period and entered the final frame trailing by just one.

LA did not take their foot off the gas in the third period as they continued to apply pressure to the Flames and Karri Ramo, who continued to frustrate the Kings through the first half of the period, turning away every shot he faced. The Kings finally beat Ramo and found the back of the net for the tying goal when Dwight King scored at 12:18 of the final frame. LA outshot the Flames 13-5 in the last 20 minutes of this game, but thanks to some more wizardry from Karri Ramo, who made 39 saves in regulation, they couldn't take the lead.

The Kings fired five more shots Ramo's way in overtime, but to no avail. After 65 minutes and prior to heading to a shootout, this game marked the first time the Flames had been involved in a penalty-free event since moving to Calgary in 1980.

After Joe Colborne and Anze Kopitar both failed to score in the first round of the shootout, Mike Cammalleri took to the ice for the Flames. His attempt din't beat Quick either, but Marian Gaborik's quick shot glove side beat Ramo to give the Kings a 1-0 advantage. Then this happened:


Jiri Hudler's slapshot from just over the blueline beat Quick to tie the contest at one before the Kings' goalie even realized what was happening.

Enter Sean Monahan. The rookie already has several shootout winners under his belt this season, and he would add another as he displayed outstanding patience on his attempt, out-waiting Quick until he almost ran out of space before taking his shot.

Mike Richards had to score for the Kings to win it, but he didn't come close, and, thanks to a first-star performance from Karri Ramo, came away with their fourth consecutive win and a season series victory.

Up next the Flames play their final home game of the season against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday before wrapping up the season on the road in Vancouver on Sunday.

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