What you need to know pre-game:
- David Rittitch gets his 6th start for the Calgary Flames, as Mike Smith drops a L in Anaheim two days prior.
- Jack Campbell gets his 20th start for the LA Kings, covering for Jonathan Quick who is out for another month with an injury to the knee.
- Willie Dejardins takes over behind the bench coaching the Kings, as LA tries to find a way out of the losing hole (sitting at the bottom of the standings with 11 points).
1st Period Summary (Hamonic G, Czarnik A, Hanifin A)
The Flames get an early goal from Hamonic a couple of minutes into the game. Campbell unable to see the shot with Garnet Hathaway providing a screen, as Hamonic shoots far side.
The Kings struggling to create plays, as the Flames take away passing lanes. The Kings not able to get a shot on net until 7 minutes in.
Gaudreau, Monahan, and Bennett all registering shots early in the game. Not two, but three short-handed chances for the Flames: Lindholm, Hathaway and - Bennett with the only shot that made it to the net. Flames able to easily kill off the Derek Ryan Holding Penalty - Ryan with the arm bar on Thompson. Dustin Brown gets the lone shot on net in the Kings first PP.
Rittich faces 6+ shots in the last 6 minutes of the 1st period - waving aside the Kovalchuk to Martinez puck play early on. Getting help from his teammates, as Lindholm hustles to clear the puck.
Shots even at 8 in the first.
2nd Period Summary
Flames on the defensive with one egg in the nest. Hamonic being the first star, breaking up a 2-on-1 with Kovalchuk and Doughty upstream 5 minutes into the 2nd period.
Campbell really using his head to make stellar saves trying to keep his team in the game - stops #13 Flames on his second shot of four in the game.
Things start to get heated mid-game as Dion Phaneuf hugs Sam Bennett.
Shots are 11-8 in favour of the Flames halfway into the game. Monahan and Kovalchuk fanning on shots from both sides.
An almost pretty ending for the Flames to end the 2nd period with Tj Brodie feeding the puck up to Gaudreau - drop pass to Monahan, back to Brodie - to Giordano, traffic - quick look pass to Lindholm who was tee’d up, but Campbell on his toes - makes the save.
3rd Period Summary
The Flames 1st line has a hot shift - with Johnny speeding end to end, past Clifford - his pass connecting with Lindholm, but yet again Campbell stays square to the puck.
Things start to broil over in the 5th scrum of the game, as Hathaway and Carter push and shove.
Both teams coming in hard - with Frolik getting his 5th shot of the game, and Doughty with one of the best chances the Kings had all game ringing off the post.
The Flames D hustling tonight - with good pressure by Brodie, keeping the Kings along the boards. Hamonic reaching with his stick to deflect a Jeff Carter shot.
The Flames go on their first and only PP of the game as Kyle Clifford goes off for Roughing - after another scrum ensues in front of the net after the Jankowski shot rebound. Most of the Flames PP is spent in the neutral zone - with Czarnik getting a shot in at the end, Campbell freezing the puck for a whistle.
The Flames get called for icing early on in the game, but the Kings not able to create plays and take three icing calls in the 3rd period.
Rittich starts to get real comfortable - calmly playing the puck behind the net - after making a good save on Kempe and another on Tanner Pearson, who had a close to breakout chance, but the Flames were hot on his heels.
Lindholm not sneaky enough on the hook, sits out for 2mins as the chants start at Staples Center.
The Flames up in shots 33, to the Kings 18.
The Kings get their 3rd PP of the game as Valimaki goes off for holding later in the 3rd, and Rittich is able to stop any shot that the Flames defense let through.
Muzzin with a good feed up to Pearson, and a couple of blocked shots in the period. Flames defense also taking a good beating, with Giordano and Bennett amongst the top shot blockers in this game.
Total shots blocked in game were CGY 15 - LA 13 , Hits were CGY 15 - LA 17
Campbell had a couple of saves on both Bennett and Backlund by the 3rd - Muzzin with another block on the Bennett shot, keeping the Kings within one. Campbell went to the bench with a minute of play left - the Kings with the man advantage for the 3rd time this period.
The last minute of the game
The Kings rush the attack zone with Toffoli playing a rebound puck around the net - Flames Rittich holding fort - and the Kings call a time out at 44.4 clock. The 6 players on the ice for the Kings with the face-off in the Flames zone are: Carter, Kopitar, Doughty, Brown, Kovalchuk, and Clifford.
Carter beats Backlund on the face-off. Doughty keeps the puck in the Flames zone twice as the Flames scramble to clear the puck. Tkachuk almost able to flip it out, but Carter keeps it from going over the blue line — and saved by the bell.
Rittich gets his first career shutout, with 21 saves and the Flames take the well deserved W.
Final score: 1-0
Valimaki showed up - he had a good fake — shot in the 1st period, and got stoned by Campbell’s glove early in the 2nd period.
Frolik had 5 shots on net, with only 12-ish minutes of ice-time. Hamonic also had 5 shots, and the winning goal - with over 22 minutes of ice-time, and a good slapper at the end of the 2nd.
Campbell keeps it simple, and plays a good square game with 35 saves for LA - the Kings not able to get one back for him against the tight defensive game played by the Flames.
Hathaway 3rd star with the screen for the Hamonic goal, and a neutral zone puck clearing on the Kings last PP attempt which shed some precious time off of the game clock. The Kings had just 2 shots that last PP.
Total shots on goal: CGY 36 - LA 21 Penalties (MIN): CGY 6 - LA 2
Who should be starter for the Calgary Flames next game against the San Jose Sharks (Sunday)?
It’s a back-to-back game, but I would stick with the hot hand - Rittich. Give Mike Smith some time to work on his focus game. Nothing wrong with sharing the pipes - ask the goalies how they’re feeling, they know best.