The Calgary Flames have defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 at Staples Center on Thursday night. Sam Bennett, Dennis Wideman, Freddie Hamilton and Alex Chiasson scored for Calgary, while Trevor Lewis potted the only goal for the Los Angeles Kings.
The Flames entered Staples Center coming off a 2 game home-and-home set against the Anaheim Ducks where they lost both games. Having not performed well in Los Angeles for the past year, Glen Gulutzan and his squad needed a good start to get the team moving. That is exactly how the first frame seemed to go. The Flames found themselves on an early power play after Anze Kopitar received a holding call against Kris Versteeg. Sam Bennett shortly found the back of the net after a quick one-timer off a pass from Mikael Backlund to make it 1-0 for the Flames.
The Kings then began to press and resorted to their strengths in puck possession. Less than 2 minutes after Bennett’s one-timer, Trevor Lewis fired a wrister past Jon Gillies to tie the game at 1-1. However, the Kings continued their momentum, firing 11 shots in total on the Flames netminder in the 1st period. All things considered, it was a good first 20 minutes for Jon Gillies.
The second period was much more evenly matched in terms of shots and possession as the Flames and Kings spent considerable time in each other’s zone. However, shortly after serving a 2 minute penalty, Dennis Wideman sprung out of the penalty box to snap one past Ben Bishop to make it 2-1. Freddie Hamilton followed suit with a well-executed wraparound goal to make it 3-1. The Flames continued to press as Alex Chiasson tipped in a T.J Brodie shot to make it 4-1.
Perhaps the biggest highlight of that second period was a fantastic save by Jon Gillies on Derek Forbort. It’s difficult to describe that save in words, so here is some footage of a save that could very well be considered as one of best saves of the season (courtesy of NHL.com).
The third period was again evenly matched as both sides traded zone time and shots at each other. Not much to report as the Flames comfortably held on to their 4-1 lead. Los Angeles Kings defenceman Derek Forbort took a late penalty which gave the Flames powerplay time for the last minute of the game. There were chances for a 5th goal, but none materialized. At the sound of the final buzzer, the Flames congratulated Jon Gillies on a well-deserved victory.
I thought the Flames focused on their strengths in speed and puck possession which ultimately led to a comfortable victory over the 2-time Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. Many expected this game to be a physical affair and a game that would be played with a lot of heart. This game was probably anything but that. They played some relatively disciplined hockey and capitalized on their chances. The Flames also showed that they can rebound from two tough losses and should hopefully maintain the good habits that help the Flames win hockey games. This will be especially important in the playoffs.
Flame of the Game
Jon Gillies looked very comfortable out there and looked like an experienced goaltender. A strong 27 save performance definitely gave him a First Star of the Game, and it definitely gives him the ‘Flame of the Game’ title as well.