LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings' penalty killing unit finally cracked, just wide enough for the Calgary Flames to emerge from their California trip victorious.
TJ Brodie scored on a slap shot from above the circles on the power play at 19:30 of the third period to give Calgary a 3-2 win Monday night at Staples Center.
Jiri Hudler fed Brodie, who found an opening in the left side of the net with Anze Kopitar in the penalty box for hooking. It was the first since Feb.2 that L.A. allowed three power-play goals.
"Big win for the boys," Flames forward Mike Cammalleri said as Psy's "Gangnam Style" blasted in Calgary's locker room. "I thought we were quick on pucks and had some poise with it, but I think, maybe more importantly, there was a little bit of hunger, a little bit of a desire – kind of that intangible stuff that when you have it, the puck seems to will its way in sometimes."
It was Calgary's third power-play goal of the night, a rarity against the League's third-best penalty kill. It was also desperately needed for a Flames team that went a combined 1-for-10 on the power play in two previous losses to the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks.
It also was a rare Kings home loss – only the fourth in the past 21 games, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But Calgary played an excellent road game and forced the Kings into 14 giveaways and six penalties total.
"We definitely lost the special teams battles," Kopitar said. "Usually when that happens, the outcome is not going to be very good, especially when it is by that big of a margin. We took some bad penalties, including myself. It was a stupid penalty on my part and shouldn't have happened."
Cammalleri made his season debut and scored a signature one-time goal in the first period. He also assisted on another goal and won seven of nine faceoffs in 16:33 minutes of ice time. Hudler extended his point streak to eight games and rookie Sean Monahan now has points in seven of eight games.
"He was fresh just like he didn't miss a beat, and that's pretty rare," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said of Cammalleri. "Our execution was very good. We kept it simple, and our right guys had the puck. I think that Cammy brought a totally new dimension to our power play."
L.A. grabbed momentum late in the second period. Jeff Carter was credited with his fifth goal when he skated down the right side shorthanded, wheeled by Flames defenseman Mark Giordano and had a pass to Mike Richards go off Dennis Wideman's stick and into the net to tie it, 2-2.
Calgary goalie Karri Ramo stopped 27 of 29 shots for his first win this season. Does Wideman owe him a dinner tab?
"I think it was just a bad bounce," Ramo said. "There's things I could do differently. Maybe we just [have] dinner and we split the bill."
Calgary got power-play goals from Cammalleri and Monahan to take a 2-1 lead late in the second period. L.A. had killed 14 straight penalties and looked impenetrable in its previous game, but allowed two power-play goals in the first two periods.
Monahan was left open to bang home the puck after Drew Doughty's holding penalty at 13:39 for his sixth goal. Cammalleri, a former King, returned from a hand injury and one-timed Hudler's pass at 16:40 for his first goal since April 21. Jonathan Quick (22 saves) had a slight read, but couldn't get his left pad over in time.
"It was fun," Cammalleri said. "It felt quick. It's been a lot of being out there on a full ice sheet by yourself, so when there's 11 other bodies out there moving at NHL speed, it feels a little different, for sure."
Doughty got his third goal and second in as many games, a significant clip considering that it took him 28 games to score last season and 39 to get his third goal.
The Kings didn't look like they would do much on their second try against the Flames' 30th-ranked penalty kill. But Jake Muzzin, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams cycled the puck and Brown set up Doughty for a wrist shot that beat Ramo high on the blocker side with 1:24 left in the opening period.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter always says it's a 3-2 League, and he thinks he knows why his team came out on the wrong side of it.
"I thought we looked fatigued, quite honest," Sutter said. "Tonight was 10 [games] in 19 [days], and the other team was clearly fresher than ours. I think it was their eighth game. [It was a] big difference."
Sutter had an interesting take on Monahan.
"He's a really good player," Sutter said. "He's the sixth-overall pick in the world an 18-year-old. He reminds me of my brother Brent at that age."