Congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings, who decided not to lose in heartbreaking fashion to the Calgary Flames. This time, at least. Instead, a largely mediocre effort was boosted by a Jonathan Quick shutout, and the Kings found enough offense to take home two points.
Finnish goalie Joni Ortio made his first start in goal for the Flames and kicked off his NHL career with a save on Jarret Stoll! Good for him! Then, Kris Russell fell down while attempting to move the puck out of his zone, and Dustin Brown blocked his second attempt to clear. Ortio could not make his second career save, as Brown went to the backhand and stuffed the puck past Ortio. At the other end, Jonathan Quick was perfect, though there were opportunities for the Flames. Quick had an adventure behind the net midway through, falling down and leaving the net wide-open for a few nervous seconds, but recovered in time to make a couple saves soon after. A couple minutes after that, a collision got Quick slightly out of position, but he put himself right back in the perfect spot to deny David Jones, and foiled a deflected shot with an outstretched pad just minutes after.
The first period wasn't great for LA. The second was just plain bad. Nothing worked in front of Jonathan Quick (with the primary agitation coming from Jordan Nolan's attempt at being a second-liner), but Quick kept the Flames out of his net despite facing 15 shots. After 31 clean minutes of play, the Kings would take five penalties in the final nine minutes of the second. Since Calgary took three of their own which overlapped the Kings' PK time, LA only had to skate 5-on-4 for four of those minutes. The Kings' penalty killers were atrocious on Wednesday night, but they kept the Flames out on Thursday. Drew Doughty got the Kings' best chance to score with seconds left in the period; though Calgary's defenders basically cleared a path for him, he shot wide and slammed his stick in frustration.
Ortio stopped Brown right in front to kick off the third period, but Brown was instrumental in the Kings' insurance goal at 3:30 of the third. An offensive-zone faceoff ended up on the stick of Brown in the corner, and he held off Mark Giordano, got to the other corner, and passed the puck to Jake Muzzin at the point. Muzzin sent it right back down, and Brown backhanded a pass right into the slot for Dwight King. King took a couple whacks, and Ortio couldn't keep the second attempt out of the net. Recall that last night, four of the Kings' five goals on Jean-Sebastien Giguere came from crashing the net or getting to the front. Both of tonight's goals were scored right on the doorstep, and they proved to be the difference.
Oh, and the Kings actually improved their defensive performance after going up two; Calgary only got two shots on goal in the third. Normally going up multiple goals is a recipe for getting outshot, but we laugh in the face of your score effects! It made for a comfortable finish after a few periods of general ineffectiveness, and a perfectly acceptable four points in the back-to-back.