Sometimes, motivation is a little bit easier to go and get when you measure yourself to the Stanley Cup champions. - Bob Hartley
CALGARY, AB -- For the second time in eight days, the Calgary Flames got the best of the Los Angeles Kings.
And in very different styles, too.
After dispatching of the Kings at Staples Center a week ago, Jiri Hudler and Jonas Hiller combined to power the Flames over Los Angeles at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.
“Sometimes, motivation is a little bit easier to go and get when you measure yourself to the Stanley Cup champions,” Hartley said. “The break is behind us, we know it's all about business. We are telling the entire world that we want to be a playoff team. The only way that we're going to achieve this is by winning hockey games.”
The Flames have. Calgary's taken three straight victories.
It started with Los Angeles. It continues with the Kings.
Calgary’s 4-3 victory on Dec. 22 -- their last game prior to the Christmas break -- saw the Flames rally from a 3-0 deficit on the strength of a hat trick from Johnny Gaudreau before Mark Giordano capped the comeback with the overtime winner.
It ended an eight-game winless streak.
“It’s huge,” Hudler said. “They’re in our conference and they’re Stanley Cup champs. They’ve got a big, physical team. The last game in their building was a comeback and we stuck with it tonight. It’s great points for us.”
The Flames took a better approach this time around.
After Calgary scored four straight to rally for a win against the Kings last week, Hudler set up a pair of quick strikes just 62 seconds apart in the first period to pace the Flames to the 2-1 win on home ice Monday.
“It was a little different. We started a little better,” Hudler said. “We got lucky bounces in LA with a minute to go. It’s four points. We’ll take it anytime against LA.
“These wins are more important. We cannot count on comebacks every night. The league schedule is going to get tougher after Christmas and after New Year’s. We’ve got to grind it out.”
With a step on Los Angeles defenseman Jake Muzzin off the rush, Hudler pulled up and found Glencross trailing, and Glencross beat Jonathan Quick to the blocker with his eighth goal to put Calgary up 1-0 at 12:13.
Johnny Gaudreau, named the NHL's First Star for the week ending Dec. 28, stepped around defenseman Matt Greene and fed Hudler, who spotted Granlund high in the slot. Granlund corralled the pass and put his fifth goal into a virtually empty net to push Calgary’s lead to two.
Tyler Toffoli got one back for the Kings late in the second, but Hiller closed the door with 10 saves in the third period to record Calgary's third straight victory.
The pair of wins over LA is part of the process of developing a team, Hartley admitted.
“Learning to win is the toughest that you can do at the NHL level,” he said. “People don’t realize how tough it is to win at this level. Just to make the playoffs, it's an achievement -- 16 teams out of 30. It's an 82-game marathon.”