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Flames winning streak ends with loss to Kings at the Staples Center

by TY PILSON @typilson /

It was an uphill climb the first time.

Not quite Mt. Everest, but a steep ascent, nonetheless.

When the Flames hosted the LA Kings at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Oct. 8, they found themselves trailing 3-0 at one point in the second period.  

Slowly but surely, foot-after-foot, they made their way back.



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Matthew Tkachuk and Noah Hanifin tallied later in the middle frame that night before Chucky scored the game-tying goal with just 64 seconds left to play.

Kings defenceman Drew Doughty would end it 50 seconds into overtime, but the Flames escaped with a valuable, hard-fought point.

Saturday night at the Staples Centre in the second of four meetings between these Pacific Division rivals this season, the Kings jumped out to another 3-0 lead.

Then 4-0.

This time, unfortunately, there would be no comeback.

The Flames saw their two-game win streak snapped with a 4-1 loss to the Kings, allowing a powerplay marker and a short-handed tally in a penalty-filled affair.

Not happy with their first periods lately, the Flames had talked about wanting to get out of the gate quick and control the tempo.

Instead, it was Kings forward Tyler Toffoli bringing the home crowd to its feet when he pulled a puck around Noah Hanifin at the blueline and skated into the high slot, snapping a wrister home at the1:15 mark of the opening stanza.

Just over five minutes in, the Flames got a chance to answer back on the powerplay when Kings captain Anze Kopitar was sent off for tripping Michael Frolik.

The Flames didn't score but found themselves a man up again just 46 seconds after Kopitar stepped back on the ice, this time big Kings defenceman Kurtis MacDermid sent to the bin for tripping Travis Hamonic.

However, they went for 0-2 on the back-to-backs.

The officials were busy in the period, with Calgary later penalized twice and also getting a partial powerplay to end the first.

The Kings went up by a pair just 18 seconds into the second when Jeff Carter drove hard to the net around TJ Brodie and his no-look backhand went off Mark Giordano's skate and into the net for his first goal of the season.

The shots were tied 8-8 after the first intermission but read 14-9 just 3:08 into the second, Rittich tested often and making a monster stop on Kopitar after he was feed a perfect pass as he powered between the defence and went in alone.

McDermid went back to the box not long after, giving the Flames another powerplay.

However, Kopitar stole the puck from Giordano and went in and roofed it over Rittich for a short-handed tally.

Just over three minutes later, this time on a powerplay of their own, Ilya Kovalchuk stepped into a cross-ice feed Alec Martinez and wired a one-timer slapshot to extend the lead to four.

By period end, the Kings held a 28-12 edge in shots as the ice was tilted in their favour for the middle stanza. 

Cam Talbot came in to spell off David Rittich for the third period, the latter making 24 stops in his 40 minutes of work.

Tkachuk and Doughty got tied up together late in the period, leading to a melee between the two teams and LA coming out of the scrum with a two-minute powerplay.

Johnny Gaudreau got a breakaway chance later in the period after a great stretch pass by Rasmus Andersson, trying to go five-hole on Jonathan Quick but he slapped the pads together to deny him.

Later Backlund got a chance for a breakaway after coming out of the penalty box with just over two minutes to play, but was hauled down by Doughty and ran hard into the boards.

That earned a penalty-shot, Backlund making good after swooping across the net and outwaiting Quick to snap it home from a tough angle.

The Flames did outshot the Kings 11-8 in the final frame.




Video: "We've got some things to figure out"



"It's a combination of a lot of things. But the number-one thing coming into a game is you have got to be willing to battle and outwork the other team. I thought they were playing harder than us, for sure, tonight. We can't keep going up and down like this. It starts with myself and everyone has to follow. We gotta be a whole lot better, a whole lot more consistent. It starts with battles and work. I think that was the biggest difference tonight."



"We gotta get back to playing simple. We have a game tomorrow. That's the only good thing that came after this game. You know, we're playing tomorrow and we have to regroup. That's nowhere near what our team is about. It felt like, for whatever reason, we had no pushback in this game."


"I think the game lacked passion from the start. That's something I kind of blame myself on. That's one of the big intangibles I bring to the team, is bringing passion just from the first shift. That was kind of lacking from my end from the start."



"We need a better push back as group. That's everybody."



"You want to go out there and dictate and when we're at our best we're quick, we're dictating the pace. We're not waiting, sitting on our heels waiting to see what's happening. We have to go after it. I think the best thing is we can get right back into it tomorrow night. Immediately. And we'll be ready." 


Andrew Mangiapane did not accompany the team to California, Tobias Rieder drawing into the lineup in his place. Mangiapane was injured during the team's win over Philly on Thursday night, leavuing the game and not returning. Head coach Bill Peters gave an update on his status after yesterday's morning pre-skate: "Everything is good. They did all the testing and everything. So, not on the trip but should be ready to go next week." ... The Flames now have a record of 1-3-1 against Pacific Division opponents ... Kings forward Austin Wagner was born and raised in Calgary, playing with the Calgary Northstars Midget AAA team before suiting up for the WHL's Regina Pats ... Giordano has played a lot of games against the Kings. How many you ask? Well, last night marked the 49th time he's suited up against them in a regular-season tilt ... Andersson is now just one game away from hitting the 100-career NHL tilt plateau.



Here are the lines and D-pairings to start last night's game (starters in bold).


Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Elias Lindholm

Matthew Tkachuk - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik

Milan Lucic - Derek Ryan - Sam Bennett

Tobias Rieder - Mark Jankowski - Austin Czarnik


Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Noah Hanifin - Travis Hamonic

Oliver Kylington - Rasmus Andersson


David Rittich



The Flames finish off this California back-to-back by heading down the freeway to Anaheim for a date with the Ducks Sunday (7 p.m., TV: Sportsnet 360, Radio: SPORTSNET960 The Fan).

The boys then return home for another Tuesday/Thursday homestand, welcoming Ovechkin and the Capitals first (click here for tickets), and then Barkov, Bobrovsky and the Panthers (click here for tickets). 

After that, it's off to Regina for the Heritage Classic tilt with the Jets.

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