Game 10; 6-4-0

LOS ANGELES – While their opponents are off to a surprisingly good start this season, it is never easy to stomach losing in the final minute of regulation. That’s what the Los Angeles Kings did as the up-and-coming Calgary Flames were able to salvage two points on an otherwise-forgettable trip to California.

For the second time this season, the Kings were going for their third-straight win and unfortunately, also for the second time, they were unable to do that. Los Angeles, however, did get off to a good start in a game where the special teams departments were front-and-center as all five goals came from either the power-play or shorthanded variety.

Near the end of the first period (18:36 to be precise), Drew Doughty opened the scoring with his third goal of the season – on the power play – from Justin Williams and Dustin Brown, who registered his first assist on the play.

After being outshot 8-4 in the opening frame, the Flames started to come alive in the second as they and the Kings had 11 shots each. But Calgary had a couple of good end results as well first coming off the stick of Mike Cammalleri who scored 2:50 into the period followed by rookie Sean Monaghan at 13:39. Both goals came on the power play.

Despite believing that he was going to miss Monday night’s game due to injury, the aforementioned Cammalleri did play adding an assist to his goal in addition to high-sticking Dustin Brown in the face later in the game – a play the former King was not penalized for.

While the Flames had the lead, they could have taken control of the game as they were on the power play once again following Monaghan’s go-ahead goal. Instead, Jeff Carter took matters into his own hands by banking his fifth off a Calgary defender and in for his fifth. The score remained tied until late in the third.

With just over two minutes remaining in regulation, Anze Kopitar was called for hooking on Calgary’s Dennis Wideman. Unfortunately for the Kings, the Flames made them pay.

After scoring two power play tallies already, defenseman TJ Brodie made the third time a charm as he slapped a rocket over Jonathan Quick’s shoulder to give the Flames the lead with just 30 seconds remaining in the third – and that’s how it ended.

While the Kings had another decent 1-for-3 showing on the man-advantage, their inability to stay out of the box hurt them as the Flames were 3-for-6 on the man-advantage with the most excruciating for the Kings coming in the waning seconds of regulation. Of course, if there is one positive to the abundance of penalties, it would be Jeff Carter’s shorthanded tally but even that can’t damper the pain of losing a game in the final minute of the game.

Despite the loss, Jonathan Quick had another good outing. His 22 saves may not seem as impressive compared to his numbers in recent games but No. 32 was nonetheless good when he had to be. On the other end, despite my initial belief, Joey MacDonald did not get the start in goal for the Flames. Instead, that distinction went to rookie Karri Ramo who, to his enormous credit, had a great game stopping 27 of 29 shots en route to not only his team’s win but his first win in a Flames uniform.

If anything can be taken from Monday night’s loss, it’s simple: the Kings need to stay out of the penalty box. And if they can’t do that next game, their penalty-killing unit has to step up their game. In all fairness, Los Angeles’s difficulty on the PK wasn’t so much a detriment to them as it was a compliment to the skill of a young, talented team like the Flames are.

Whichever way you look at it, the divisional rivalry between the Kings and Flames is reborn. The first chapter may not have ended the way fans in Los Angeles may have wanted but it’s a long season and the silver-and-black have four more chances to redeem themselves against these youngsters from Southern Alberta.