CALGARY -- In the much anticipated and highly hyped battle of Sutter siblings, Darryl bested Brent.
Facing each other for the first time as coaches, Darryl's Los Angeles Kings handed brother Brent's Flames a 4-1 loss on Saturday night, also spoiling the return of Michael Cammalleri to Calgary. Darryl, who spent eight years as a member of the Flames organization before leaving midway through last season, has coached against brothers Brian and Duane a total of 31 times -- but never before against Brent, who had not coached against a fellow Sutter before the Kings came to town.
As he said before the game, it was never about Darryl vs. Brent for the elder brother.
"Non-factor," Darryl said of the Sutter vs. Sutter coaching matchup. "You guys keep talking about it when. That concept and our mindset is always about team-first stuff. That stuff really doesn't mean much to me."
Perhaps not surprisingly, Brent's answer was no different.
"When the game starts, you don't get caught up in who the other coach is," Brent said. "You're so focused on your team and how you have to play and as I have been going into the last 48 hours. You guys make more of a deal out of it than myself or Darryl does. His job is to coach the L.A. Kings and my job is to coach the Calgary Flames."
Kings forward Dustin Penner painted a little different picture of his coach.
"He was pretty intense all day, more so than usual," Penner said. "The way he spoke, and what he said, you could tell this meant a lot to him, and we were happy to get it for him."
And if Darryl didn't explicitly say it, the spirited contest between the two still meant enough to Darryl to save the game puck, rounded up by Jarret Stoll. It will eventually end up with Christopher, his son.
"I'm going to give it to Chris," Darryl said. "I just can't find him."
The defeat also snapped the Flames' eight-game winning streak at Scotiabank Saddledome; Calgary lost at home for the first time in regulation since Nov. 15. The Flames couldn't overcome goals by Mike Richards and Matt Greene in a three-minute span to start the second period, pushing Darryl's record to 7-1-4 since taking over the coaching duties in Los Angeles on Dec. 20.
After the puck skipped over the stick of Mark Giordano at the Flames' blue line, Richards raced in alone on Kiprusoff, deking forehand-to-backhand before sliding the puck between the goaltender's legs to make it 1-0 just 27 seconds into the period.
Calgary tried to counter 40 seconds later. Lance Bouma forced a turnover at the Los Angeles blue line and sprung Olli Jokinen and Jarome Iginla on a 2-on-1. Jokinen fed Iginla, who couldn't beat Jonathan Quick. That stop became even bigger when Greene floated a shot past a screened Kiprusoff at 3:02, giving the Kings a 2-0 lead.
Again, the Flames tried to push back. Giordano found Mikael Backlund at the side of the net, but the Flames' forward couldn't convert. After Quick covered the puck, a scrum followed resulting in a Tom Kostopoulos cross-checking minor -- and the Kings scored on the ensuing power play. Dustin Brown's seam pass was blocked by Justin Williams, but Anze Kopitar picked up the puck and put it over Kiprusoff at 14:48 for a 3-0 lead.
Dissatisfied with the effort of his club, it didn't take long for Brent Sutter to reunite Cammalleri and Iginla, a duo that had great success during the 2008-09 season -- when Cammalleri found the back of the net 39 times and Iginla added 35 goals.
It worked. On a power play of their own, Flames defenseman Anton Babchuk uncorked a shot that was deflected by Cammalleri between the legs of Quick at 15:52 to pull Calgary to within two after two periods.
Scoring in his return was of little consolation for Cammalleri, who also admitted that on a personal level, it was nice to be back in Calgary.
"Not really because we lost the game," he said when asked if he was happy about scoring in his first game back with the Flames. "It was a tough loss. We really wanted to win that one."
Cammalleri's goal wasn't enough as Darryl's Kings put the game on lockdown in the third, limiting Calgary to seven shots before Brown hit the empty net at 19:03.
The Kings closed out Calgary in a similar manner to the way the Flames welcomed them in the first period. The Flames held Los Angeles to just six shots in the opening 20 minutes, including none in the first 8:57 that included a two-minute power play after Jokinen took a hooking penalty.
Calgary did manage to get two pucks past Quick -- but not the post. With three minutes remaining in the period, Blake Comeau picked up a Bouma rebound but hit the far post. On the same shift, Backlund again caught iron after gaining the zone with speed.
"I thought our first period was as good of a first period as we played probably all year," Brent said. "I thought we did a lot of good things. It's the way we wanted to play and wanted to play the full game."
Backhand shot -
1 - 0 LAK
Wrist shot -
2 - 0 LAK
Wrist shot -
3 - 0 LAK
Deflected shot -
3 - 1 LAK
Wrist shot -
4 - 1 LAK