Game 48 (23-15-10)
LOS ANGELES – The good news is they earned points in 15 of their last 16 games. The bad news is that they couldn’t pick up the pair as the Los Angeles Kings fall to the Calgary Flames in the shootout by a 2-1 score.
Coupled with San Jose’s loss tonight, the Kings move to within a point of the division lead with 56. However, given how close they came to winning the game in overtime, earning just a point is very little consolation for the Kings right now. The game was literally an inch away from ending in Los Angeles’ favour when Miikka Kiprusoff stopped the puck at the last second as Dustin Penner was about to win it. The Kings, though, did get a power play (albeit with 32 seconds remaining in the period). The Kings did have their chances on their abbreviated man-advantage but just couldn’t capitalize thus sending the game into a shootout.
Although Jonathan Quick was great in regulation and again in overtime stopping 24 of 25 shots, he wasn’t quite as sharp in the shootout as he first allowed an Olli Jokinen goal and then, on the same move, was beaten by Mike Cammalleri, whose goal stood as the game-winner.
Although they couldn’t get the win, I was very impressed with Los Angeles’ overall play tonight. In the first, it was captain Dustin Brown who pounced on a loose puck to open the scoring and for the remainder of the period, the momentum belonged to the home team. In the second, though, it was Jarome Iginla who tied the game on a blistering wrist shot that fooled Quick stick side.
Despite the goal, the Kings did not let it deter them as they kept on pressing as if nothing had happened. I liked what I saw from every line but I was particularly impressed by the top line of Brown, Kopitar and Williams who moved the puck around with such ease. In fact, the latter two sent Brown in on a shorthanded breakaway early in the second. Although Brown didn’t score, it was a great effort nonetheless.
Enough can’t be said about Miikka Kiprusoff who continues to play very well at Staples Center. The Kings were fortunate to get four past him last weekend but that wasn’t the case tonight as the veteran netminder rebounded from Dustin Brown’s early goal and stood on his head. Tonight was one of the few times that Jonathan Quick was not the best goaltender – even though Quick did stand on his head for most of the night.
It’s a disappointing loss but, at the same time, an important point as the Kings now move on as they look forward to Saturday night when they host the Colorado Avalanche, another team in the thick of the all-too-competitive Western playoff race.
Photo: Courtesy of Ben Plosse/QMI Agency