For reasons unknown, the Calgary Flames are the Los Angeles Kings' kryptonite. Earlier this season Calgary won at Staples by scoring a goal in the final 30 seconds, and we certainly didn't forget. That didn't stop it from happening once more on Saturday night.
The less said about this one, the better. Unfortunately, we're not allowed to just post a .GIF of Darryl Sutter dropping an F-bomb over and over as our recap. So, here's a summary.
- wait. Daniel Carcillo? That's happening? Okay.
Like I was saying, the odd new first line got some pressure right off the bat, but their best chance came off the post, via Carcillo. Good job, Dan! Unfortunately, all that got Carcillo was a demotion off the first line, in exchange for Dustin Brown. Fun experiment, though. Meanwhile, Jordan Nolan also got a point-blank chance midway through, but Karri Ramo made the stop. Stempniak then had a decent look at the other end, and the Kings came right back with Ramo flailing to keep Drew Doughty and the second line out of the net. Doughty and Ramo were the best players on each team in the first, but there wasn't much else to speak of in terms of action.
The second period got interesting purely due to penalties. Jarret Stoll got the ball rolling with a boarding penalty in the offensive zone, and a Dustin Brown hooking call soon got Calgary on the 5-on-3. Calgary's power play wasn't particularly good, with Lee Stempniak's shot off the crossbar providing the only real threat to Ben Scrivens in net. The Kings got a power play immediately after thanks to a hooking penalty, which also wasn't particularly good and resulted in no goals. Dustin Brown laid a hit on Matt Stajan which probably won't result in any supplemental discipline but at least raised the question and put the Kings on another PK; nothing doing.
The breakthrough finally came after Ladislav Smid took a major boarding penalty on Dwight King, got ejected, and put the Kings on a five-minute power play. (Suddenly, that Brown hit seems rather innocent.) Unfortunately, it came for Calgary. After one minute of the Kings forcing saves out of Ramo, Calgary managed to clear the zone a couple times, and the puck ran all the way down the ice. Ben Scrivens came out to get it and somehow managed to fall instead of getting the puck, and Paul Byron got to the puck behind the goal line. With Scrivens unable to get up and three Kings collapsing to play defense, Byron threaded the puck to Blair Jones, and Jones got a shot through Alec Martinez and into the net. My description probably didn't do it justice; you can watch the video here.
Tyler Toffoli and Slava Voynov were among those who tried and failed to score on Ramo in the remainder of the power play, but it was a largely ugly three and a half minutes, and scattered boos started coming down on the Kings. Shane O'Brien didn't learn from Smid's mistake and elbowed Justin Williams into the boards right before intermission, but that power play also went for naught. The third period continued to be a frustration. Somehow, Daniel Carcillo got the only penalty on a scrum where he didn't really do anything, but given that it's the Kings (on an 0-for-18 power play run and 34-for-36 penalty kill run), there would be no special teams scoring tonight.
Darryl Sutter certainly tried to get things going in the third with his best players; in addition to another 26 minutes for Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar played a season high 24:43, and Justin Williams got an unusually high 16 even-strength minutes. The Kopitar-Williams combo finally got the Kings on the board with 4:31 to go. Kopitar's assist was his 500th point, but it was one of his least impressive: a faceoff win in the defensive zone! But Williams also got his 200th career goal on the play, and it does belong on his career highlight reel; he picked up Muzzin's pass off the boards in his own zone, streaked down the ice, and fired a wrister into the top corner of the far side.
The goal should have sent the game to overtime and extended the point streak, but one more twist remained after a 4-on-4 situation ended. (Jim Fox booed the embellishment call on Kyle Clifford which led to the 4-on-4. The booing seemed justified; why do referees insist on calling dives and penalties simultaneously?) It was another mistake in the defensive zone, but this one was on Slava Voynov. Mike Cammalleri held off Slava Voynov in the corner, and Voynov lost his stick defending. When Cammalleri gave up the puck, Voynov made an awful decision to grab his stick instead of following Cammalleri. Mikael Backlund passed it back to Cammalleri in front of the net with no one else besides Ben Scrivens in the area. The former King stuffed the puck in to win the game with 23 seconds left.
So, 23 seconds short of setting a franchise record for most consecutive games with a point, and they miss out in the cruelest fashion. Not that the Kings deserved one tonight, of course. It was a feeble effort, and against a bad team at home after two days off, there's no excuse for it. The Kings get to play Calgary three more times this year; they'd better figure out what's wrong with their gameplan (or how they can beat Karri freaking Ramo) before then.