Game 27; 16-7-4
LOS ANGELES – Considering they were riding an 11-game point streak heading into to Saturday, the end result still provides little comfort as for the second time this season, the Los Angeles Kings fall to the Calgary Flames in the final minute of regulation.
To kick things off, the Kings grabbed a bit of early momentum as they wound out outshooting the Flames 7-5 in the opening frame. Karri Ramo, however, who got the nod in the Calgary goal, was sharp when he had to be keeping the game scoreless after the opening 20 minutes.
From then on, it was a disappointing effort from the Kings as they just couldn’t seem to get anything going for most of the night against a team they really should have had a better effort – especially a team that had just played (and lost) the previous evening. This was evident during the latter stages of the second when Los Angeles found themselves with a five-minute major power play after Calgary’s Ladislav Smid checked Dwight King into the boards in what looked like, in all fairness, a very marginal call. Nevertheless, the Kings were on the man-advantage.
While on the power play, however, Ben Scrivens came out of his net to play a cleared puck when he took a stumble, falling to the ice while his defenders seemed to be so perplexed, they barely moved resulting in an easy Flames goal courtesy of Blair Jones. With the shorthanded marker, Calgary drew first blood while the Kings just could not muster much of an effort on the man-advantage.
Entering the third, the Kings were once again playing catch up. With Los Angeles outshooting the Flames 6-5 in the final frame, it wasn’t exactly an exciting finish to the contest. But with just over four-and-a-half minutes remaining in regulation, Justin Williams came flying down the ring and ripped a shot over Karri Ramo that almost everyone at Staples Center thought was a goal, including the referee. The play was blown dead so the officials could review the goal and, lo and behold, it stood. The Kings tied the game on Williams’s 10th from Jake Muzzin and Anze Kopitar. Suddenly, the point streak that was in jeopardy was suddenly safe for the time being. But the relief didn’t last.
In the final minute of regulation, the Flames were pressing thanks in large part to former King Mike Cammalleri who was ultimately able to park himself in front of Scrivens. When the point shot came, Cammalleri took it and beat a sprawled Scrivens to give Calgary the lead with just 23 seconds to go – and that’s how it finished.
While it has been an overall impressive month, the Los Angeles Kings could not have ended November on a more disappointing note. Aside from his mental lapse, Ben Scrivens played well. But his usually-reliable defense didn’t on this night nor did the offense. While going 0-for-3 on the power play isn’t anything to cry wolf about, Los Angeles’s inability to get anything going on their aforementioned five-minute man-advantage proved how dismal the PP was on Saturday for the home side.
In addition, the Flames, who had played and lost just 24 hours earlier, were missing rookie sensation Sean Monahan and veteran defenseman Dennis Wideman to injury while Karri Ramo had entered Staples Center rusty having not played in his team’s last few games. If that weren’t enough, Saturday’s win marked the first time all season the Flames allowed less than two goals in a game.
In all fairness, Calgary certainly deserves credit for winning. They entered hostile territory against a tough team without much rest and they escaped Staples Center with two points. But the Kings simply did not show up the way they should have on Saturday and it cost them.
All the Kings can do is regroup as they prepare to open December with a tough back-to-back schedule first against St. Louis and then down the road in Anaheim to take on the always-popular Ducks.