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The Game Rush: Flames vs. Kings

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

LOS ANGELES, CA -- Despite a late push, the Calgary Flames fell 2-1 to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.

The Kings opened the scoring at 12:08 when Kyle Clifford notched his first NHL goal. Wayne Simmonds sent a hard pass from the half-wall and Clifford, who was perched in front of the net, was able to deflect it past Miikka Kiprusoff.

Anze Kopitar made it a 2-0 affair at 4:25 of the third period with a power play goal. Skating out from the corner, the Slovanian made it to the side of the net just in time to snap home Jack Johnson's rebound.

The Flames were able to pull within one late in the contest when Olli Jokinen scored his third of the season on the power play. With Clifford in the box for interference, the Flames went to work at cracking the Kings unbelievably strong home penalty kill. After they were able to get set up, Anton Babchuk sent a hard shot from the point that beat Jonathan Quick but bobbled around in the crease until Jokinen skated in and easily tapped it in the net.

The Flames appeared to open the scoring early in the first period when Matt Stajan knocked the puck into the back of the net after a long scramble in front of Quick. The referee made the motion that it was a goal but since the net came off its moorings on the play and the cluster of players sitting in the blue when the puck went in, the goal was reviewed. After a lengthy examination, it was concluded there was a distinct kicking motion that put the puck over the line and the on-ice call was disallowed.

That call motivated the Kings and they were able to grab the momentum and run with it for the rest of the contest.

Kiprusoff has been a highlight reel machine throughout his career and while he's made some incredible saves lately, he may have made the play of the year against the Kings on Thursday.

Cory Sarich gave up the puck to Ryan Smyth in the corner and the veteran forward dished the puck off to Trevor Lewis. He skated in front of the net and it appeared he was going to take a shot, making Kiprusoff commit, but he opted to make a backhand pass to Jarret Stoll. The former Oiler had a wide open cage to throw the puck into but the Finnish netminder wasn't ready to give up on the play. He somehow dove over to the side of the net and managed to his stick on the shot to make the nearly impossible paddle save. The puck rolled slowly on through the blue paint, dangerously close to the line, before Mark Giordano lunged into the crease and knocked the puck into safety.

If Kiprusoff wasn't on his game, the scoresheet would have been a lot differently. The goaltender was under siege most of the evening and while he did his best to hold his team in the mix, the Flames inability to generate offence sunk them.

Overall, Kiprusoff made 30 saves on 32 shots.

Whenever the Flames and Kings face off against each other, chances are it's going to be a low scoring contest.

In the last 10 games, the Flames have held the Kings to 2 or less goals. Thursday's loss ended a three-game winning streak for Calgary against Los Angeles.

"Kipper's been doing that all year but yeah, that was big." - Giordano on Kiprusoff's first period save on Stoll in the first period (via Sportsnet)

  Friday, Dec. 10 vs. Anaheim
  8:00 PM MT (SNET Flames, FAN 960)

The Flames wrap up their quick two day road trip with a stop in Anaheim to square off against the Ducks. Henrik Karlsson is expected to get the start at the Honda Center. This is the first game of the four-game season series between the clubs.

The puck drops at 8:00 PM MT on Sportsnet Flames & The FAN 960.
6 Game point streak for Mark Giordano.
5 Shots on net for Jarome Iginla, leading his team.
69 Face off win percentage for Matt Stajan.
20 Giveaways for the Flames. They had 17 in the first 40 minutes.
1 Power play goal against the Kings on home ice this season.

1st Star
Jonathan Quick
27 26 1 60:00 .962
2nd Star
Miikka Kiprusoff
32 30 2 59:29 .937
3rd Star
Anze Kopitar
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 0 4

Jonathan Quick
27 26 1 60:00 .962

Miikka Kiprusoff
32 30 2 59:29 .937

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