Just when you have a little hope that the Flames could win, they blow another lead and break your heart all over again. But it's the little things and we need to appreciate those little things as the season winds down. With Joni Ortio in net, Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie on the blue line, and Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, and Hunter Shinkaruk up front, the Flames were hoping to earn a win at home before the season ends. Tonight was not that night. Maybe tomorrow.
It started out well enough when Hunter Shinkaruk was throwing his weight around, earning his permanent spot on the Flames roster next season. Lance Bouma had a couple of good chances on net during the period. And Mark Giordano was blocking shots like a boss. Mikael Backlund opened the scoring, with an assist to Kopitar (he should have got the assist, but it actually went to Joe Colborne and Deryk Engelland), and the Flames were up 1-0. But that's when the period fell apart for the Flames. They looked confused and disorganized in the last half of the period which resulted in a goal by the Kings to tie the game after 20 minutes.
Because one goal evidently wasn't enough for Lucic, he potted another one mere seconds into the middle frame to give the Kings the edge 2-1. LA was starting to get into the heads of some Flames players, but it didn't throw the home team off their game. A good penalty kill gave the Flames some life. Sean Monahan made a sweet pass to T.J. Brodie in front of the net and Brodie stick handled through 2 Kings players to get a shot on net only to be denied by the goalie. Shinkaruk would help the Flames later in the period when he fought for space in front of the Kings net, took a good pass from Gio, and slapped one home to even the score 2-2 before the end of the period. With his parents in the crowd, that was Shinkaruk's first home goal for the Calgary Flames.
With the continued powerplay that carried over into the third period, the Flames opened the scoring when Gio was left alone at the top of the slot and saucered one past the Kings goalie to put the home team ahead 3-2. That would be the captain's 300th point this season. LA answered back quickly to tie the game again before the end of the period. It wouldn't be a true Flames game until someone takes a useless, late-game penalty and the honours went to Gio tonight as he headed to the box. Luckily, no goals were scored. Micheal Ferland had a good chance on net in the period but couldn't capitalize. Dougie Hamilton made some big hits along the boards. And Lance Bouma left late in the game with an upper-body injury. But the Flames weren't quite done yet. Notching his second goal of the season, Deryk Engelland gave the Flames an edge over LA once again. Leave it to the feisty Kings to tie it 4-4 with just over 35 seconds left on the clock and force overtime.
Overtime didn't take long. With Gio, Brodie, and Monahan starting, it took the Kings 40 seconds to steal the puck, trip Monahan, skate past Gio and win the game 5-4.
Flame Of The Game
Deryk Engelland. With a goal and an assist in tonights tilt, Engelland has been consistent on the blue line in spite of the criticism. He has 4 points in his last 5 games and has been relatively solid on the defense all season long. When one of the blue-liners got hurt, Engelland was the one to step up and take a veteran role in anyone's absence. In 68 games this season he has a plus-5 rating and 11 points. That's about average for his NHL career. He's a big body that steals chances away from the opposition and he's dependable as a defender. Tonight he's earned our Flame Of The Game.