Who doesn’t love sunny California ..
Mike Smith gets the start for the Calgary Flames after having a shaky return from injury (5 losses in 6 games). He got a break last game, with David Rittich getting the start versus the San Jose Sharks.
The Flames lost that first road game, and with that Rittich was sent back, in exchange for Jon Gillies as Smith’s backup in today’s game against the LA Kings.
California road trip taking a heavy toll on the Flames, as they lose two playoff hope ending games to their Pacific Division rivals.
1st period is scoreless
(Shots CGY 7 LAK 8)
Calgary Flames came out strong to start the game. Michael Stone releasing a slap shot to start the game – Jonathan Quick able to stop that, as well as making an early stop on Jankowski’s chance for the Flames.
Flames also came out as heavy hitters versus the physical LA Kings. Sam Bennett with an early hit on Doughty to let them know they came to play. Garnet Hathaway also getting in a few good hits on the Kings this period.
LA Kings go on the only Power Play of the period, as Bennett is called for boarding. Mike Smith makes 3 saves on the PK, with a huge save on Jeff Carter via Kopitar. The Flames were able to clear the puck out of their offensive zone a couple of times, allowing the Flames to kill off the penalty on Bennett.
Later on Kings’ Kyle Clifford stays on the puck to keep it in the offensive zone – finally getting a shot away, but Smith able to get a piece of it. Dougie Hamilton throws a long ball at Quick thereafter as the Flames get their 4th shot of the period, Kings have 7 shots at over half way in the 1st period.
Calgary Flames have 11 hits on the LA Kings who have only 5 hits on their visiting opponents thus far. Period ends with 15–6 hits.
Smith looked comfortable in and around the net – making a couple of stops on Adrian Kempe, and even coming out of the crease to calmly play the puck to his teammates.
2nd period - Flames down by 2
(Shots CGY 8 LAK 11)
Just when I thought Dion Phaneuf wasn’t going to be able to get a shot on net on his old jersey colour – he snipes one in past Mike Smith from the point.
This would be a PP goal for LA Kings on Sam Bennett’s second penalty. This time Bennett goes to the hot box for having his stick too high – and getting Kopitar in the face with it.
1-0 LA Kings with Dion’s PP goal to open up the scoring.
Calgary Flames take back-to-back penalties, as the refs call roughing against Matt Stajan – the fourth line having trouble entering the offensive zone, with Tanner Glass a step ahead.
Smith makes a massive save on Jeff Carter, then again on Kempe in the PK to keep the Flames within one.
Troy Brouwer gets a shot on goal as things get crowded near the boards – this time LA King Alec Martinez getting the only roughing call.
Michael Ferland aggressive on the puck, able to get it away from Kopitar and register a shot on Quick on the Calgary Flames first PP – which lasted only half a minute.
Bennett taking his third penalty of the game – all for different reasons – this time for tripping. Anze Kopitar taking advantage of the Kings PP, getting the Kings their 2nd PP goal in their fourth man-advantage so far in this game.
It’s a two-goal deficit for the Flames half way, as their season starts to dwindle in front of their eyes.
Smith loses the puck while playing it behind the net – being bailed out by Nick Shores who’s able to get a handle on the puck, steering it away from the open net.
Captain Mark Giordano gets a couple of shots on Quick near the end of the second, Flames still struggling to get a shot in.
Hits are 21-9 in favor of Calgary at the end of the second.
3rd period Kings water down the Flames
(Shots CGY 8 LAK 10)
The first couple minutes of the third were pretty uneventful – besides Quick getting a stick down on Backlund’s flutter puck.
Flames get an early third period PP – which soon turns into a short handed chance by Dustin Brown, alongside Kopitar, Brown shoots - Smith makes the save as the Flames head the other way, not able to capitalize on the PP.
Kings take off on another 2-on-1 as the puck hops off of Garnet Hathaway’s stick. Smith able to stop Jeff Carter again – keeping the Flames down by just two.
Glass gets his first shot of the game – Quick was square to it.
Brouwer gets a shot and throws a hit right after Smith makes a save on Toffoli on the other end.
A delay of game is called against the Flames – as Giordano takes a seat in the box. LA Kings go on their sixth power play.
Smith still feeling confident enough to play the puck behind the net – on a PK – but slips up again. Only seconds later to have Carter sneak one past him off a (yep) Kopitar pass.
3-goal deficit for the Calgary Flames, as things get heated along the boards again – broken up, the Flames go on a PP as Christian Folin goes off for tripping.
Flames are 0/3 on the PP – with zero shots on goal on the last PP.
I hear singing .. which means it’s over
Flames not so hot – and there goes any and every chance of them making the 2017-2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs – for those of us who still believed.
No excuses: a lot of wide shots, and passes not connecting – hard to find chemistry between new line mates as Gulutzan is forced to make up lines of what’s left of his team.
And with that Flames fans – our beloved team is shut out. Jonathan Quick gets his 49th career shut out, stopping all 23 shots that actually hit the net, making it Quick’s 4th shutout versus the Flames.