Calgary Flames (7)- Los Angeles Kings (2)
The Calgary Flames took care of business Monday night, defeating a weak team, with a very young D corps. They also got some significant scoring from their usual third line.
The Flames would open the scoring early, with Derek Ryan burying Oliver Kylington’s rebound. It was his 11th goal of the season, and his 11th point in his last 10 games. Kylington recorded an assist in just his second game played since February 22nd.
The Kings would play ping pong with the Flames the rest of the period, with Ryan’s goal being followed 10 minutes later with Kyle Clifford firing a shot under David Rittich’s blocker.
Sam Bennett gave the Flames the lead back, deflecting Mark Jankowski’s shot just over Johnathon Quick’s pad. It was Bennett’s first game back after missing 5 with injury. Dustin Brown finished off a beautiful Kings passing play to send the game tied at 2 into the intermission.
The second period was a bittersweet one for the Flames. Johnny Gaudreau inched closer to 100 points, by roofing his 36th goal of the season short side on Quick. The negative for the Flames was Sam Bennett, who was clearly not right after a high hit from Kurtis MacDermid. Bennett was unable to get his legs solidly under him, and the play was stopped. (He did not return).
The Kings fell apart in the third. The Flames added 4 more goals before the mid point of the period. James Neal scored just 13 seconds into the period, taking a cross crease pass from Mark Jankowski, before sizzling a pass backdoor to Derek Ryan for his second of the game just 2 minutes later.
Juuso Valimaki assisted on Andrew Mangiapane’s 8th goal of the season, as he played in his first game since November 23rd. Michael Stone also recorded his first point since October, in just his 3rd game since October 25th.
Mark Jankowski ended Quick’s night on his 13th of the season, a beautiful backhand shot top shelf, and his second in as many games.
1st: 2:07- Ryan (11) (Kylington/Hathaway), 14:09- Bennett (13) (Jankowski)
2nd: 6:46- Gaudreau (36) (Monahan)
3rd: 0:13- Neal (7) (Jankowski), 2:33- Ryan (12) (Neal/Andersson), 8:30- Mangiapane (8) (Valimaki/Stone), 8:45- Jankowski (13) (Unassisted)
1st: 13:29- Clifford (10) (Kovalchuk/Amadio), 19:20- Brown (22) (Doughty/Kopitar)
Although the Kings are certainly one of the worst teams in the NHL right now, it’s impressive to see the Flames dominate a game without two of their top forwards, and their entire top 4 of the D corps.
Juuso Valimaki looked even better than he did at the start of the season, and the Flames played him in all situations tonight. He played the second most of any Flames player with 21:19 TOI.
The top 3 lines all recorded a point for the second straight game,
David Rittich made 24 saves to earn his 27th victory of the year. Derek Ryan had his second two goal game of the year. Mark Jankowski crossed the 30 point threshold for the first time in his career.
After recording 26 points each of the last two years, and being stuck at 26 this year, Sam Bennett scored his 13th goal and 27th point of the season to break his personal curse. He appeared to sustain a concussion from the MacDermid hit, and his availability in the playoffs is now uncertain.
Flame Of The Game
James Neal (F): Flames fans have waited all year for the Real Deal to show up in Calgary, and he may have woken up at the perfect time of the year. Neal now has 2 goals and 4 points in his last 3 games, as he has returned from injury with vengeance. He also recorded 6 shots in this game, after having 5 hits last night in San Jose. The NHL is officially on standby.
4/3: Calgary Flames @ Anaheim Ducks 8:30 PM MT