The Los Angeles Kings have surprised many people this season by fighting their way from the NHL’s basement into playoff contention. They continued their fight at home against the Calgary Flames tonight, and gained another 2 points as they sent the Flames packing after beating them 2-1.
Tonight’s game marks the end of the Flames’ season-high, 6-game road trip, which came at a time when the Flames were playing their best hockey while occupying the visitor’s bench. The 11-day road trip was overwhelmingly successful as the Flames took 8 of a total 12 points, beating San Jose, Detroit, Nashville and Columbus along the way. Miikka Kiprusoff registered 2 shutouts and the Flames outshot their opponents 16-8.
Tonight, the Flames played incredibly well, but were stopped by a hot goaltender (Jonathan Quick) and some stingy forechecking by the Kings. Rookie Scott Parse opened the scoring for the Kings with a Bobby Orr-like goal. The Flames tied it up just over 6 minutes later when Curtis Glencross backhanded a shot into the Kings net.
The dagger in the Flames back came while killing a penalty. With Craig Conroy in the box for tripping, the Flames couldn’t get the puck out of their own end and it turned into a shooting gallery. While Calgary scrambled around the ice, the Los Angeles powerplay unit fired shot-after-shot at Miikka Kiprusoff, eventually beating him on a redirect in front of the net.
The Flames had plenty of chances to tie the game in the 2nd and 3rd periods but could not beat Quick. The young Kings goalie was “in the zone” tonight and seemed to get a pad on everything that came his way. Even when the Flames had 2 or 3 chances to whack at a rebound, he still managed to keep the puck out of the net.
The Flames return home tonight and will have a day to rest before playing the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday.