It goes without saying that tonight’s game between the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings was a massive contest. Tonight’s game had a variety of storylines heading into it but let’s start off with the biggest.
Ben Bishop was making his Kings debut after being acquired from Tampa Bay on Sunday as the Kings looked for security in case Jonathan Quick is reinjured later this year or struggles.
Next, this was a game with massive playoff implications as the Kings entered 5 points back of Calgary with a game in hand. A Kings win would make things much tighter over the next couple of weeks.
The Flames stuck with the same lineup from the successful road trip, and Brian Elliott was in between the pipes.
The first period of the game started out a little slowly, not quite what you’d expect for the value this game had. Things slowly began to pick up over the course of the period with chances in both directions.
Los Angeles would get a powerplay and get to work by jamming a puck through Elliott to take a 1-0 lead. There was a lot of debate on this goal, as it originally wasn’t called a goal on the ice, but was reviewed and clearly crossed the line.
However Calgary then challenged it for goaltender interference as Elliott clearly had his pad pushed into the net, but the call stood. Later sources told that the NHL and referees had felt the puck was still free and that Elliott hadn’t had control of the puck when pushed. Also sounds like they thought Deryk Engelland’s stick may have been the one that pushed the pad in. I don’t know if I agree, but what do I know? 1-0 Kings.
Calgary would get their own powerplay but fail to generate any great chances as the highly effective Kings PK shut them down.
The opening period finished with the Kings up 1-0 and up on shots 11-8.
The second period would feature a much stronger effort from the Flames as the game picked up in intensity.
This would be perfectly emphasized by top line forward Micheal Ferland absolutely crushing Jake Muzzin in the corner before coming back to the slot to find the puck alone and beat Bishop with a quick shot over his blocker to make it 1-1. Mark Giordano had an assist on the goal.
Calgary would control most of the play in the second period, generating 27 shot attempts to LA’s 13.
The teams would end the second period still tied 1-1 and shots in the game now at 21-17 for the Flames.
The Kings would come out strong in the third period as they tried to push in what was a very crucial game for them, but the Flames held strong.
About midway through the period we’d see a highlight reel hit as Mark Giordano absolutely and I mean absolutely demolished Dustin Brown into the sideboards by the penalty boxes. It was a clean hit and brought a rousing ovation from the Saddledome crowd who had already been quite loud during the game.
The physicality would continue later in the period as Troy Brouwer, who’d had a tough game prior, and Brayden McNabb would drop the gloves in the Kings zone with Brouwer landing the best shots between two players that don’t normally fight.
The Kings would then again pepper the Flames over the final half of the period but some excellent goaltending from Elliott kept the game tied, save for a terrifying moment with seconds left where a shot got through him and then hit the back of the shaft of his stick as it was going in and landed just behind him.
We’d head to overtime where the Kings have excelled this year going 10-2, but Calgary had been strong too at 6-2. Shots in regulation were an even 29-29.
Overtime would start with both teams getting some possession but nothing of importance being generated.
Then, somehow, Mikael Backlund would spring T.J. Brodie on a breakaway with a full ice stretch pass, and Brodie would go in and deke Bishop and score on his backhand to win the game. It’s Brodie’s fifth goal of the season, but none were more crucial than that.
Backlund’s assist also tied his career high with 26 assists in a season.
- The Giordano-Hamilton pairing was solid tonight, turning out strong CF% against a regularly possession dominant Kings team.
- Brian Elliott had another solid performance allowing the one goal, which could’ve/should’ve gone the other way.
- Micheal Ferland on that top line is amazing
- I wasn’t a fan of Troy Brouwer’s performance tonight as he lost the puck a lot and didn’t seem to make much of an impact
- The Bartkowski-Engelland pairing had a tough night with 23.33 and 27.59 CF% respectively
- Matthew Tkachuk looked like he had gruesomely injured his knee on a fall in the third but returned. Thank goodness.
- Is it just me, or are like half of the Kings missing teeth?
With the win the Flames moved six points clear of the Kings and upped their record to 34-26-4. Not to mention they extended their winning streak to five games and have points in seven straight.
They’re next in action on Friday night when the Detroit Red Wings come to town. We’ll have coverage of that game, as well as trade deadline coverage of any and all Flames moves tomorrow. Go Flames Go!