Todd McLellan’s crew can argue that they are better than their record indicates. Even so, the Flames may rue a loss like this to the Kings, with Los Angeles winning 5-3 on Wednesday.
Flames could regret this loss to Kings
Calgary came into the night with a chance to distance themselves in the Pacific and West bubble races. Instead, the Flames dropped from the Pacific’s third spot, and squandered quite a bit of margin for error:
Pacific 3: Golden Knights (28-22-8, 64 points in 58 games played)
West Wild 1: Flames (29-23-6, 64 points, 58 GP)
West Wild 2: Coyotes (28-23-8, 64 points, 59 GP)
9th: Jets (29-24-5, 63, 58 GP)
10th: Wild (27-23-6, 60, 56 GP)
11th: Predators (26-22-7, 59, 55 GP)
12th: Blackhawks [in progress] (25-23-8, 58 in 56 GP)
Again, the Kings stand as a scrappier opponent than their worst-in-the-West record indicates. Really, they could carry real upset potential down the stretch.
Reality vs expectation
Teams that are good and trending in the right direction too:
VGK, BOS, TOR, STL, COL, MIN (not really moving), NYR (crazy), PHI (oddly, not really moving), COL, TBL pic.twitter.com/WuMsnCFepP
— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) February 12, 2020
Even so, the Kings beat the Flames in three of four games this season, with Calgary only managing three of a possible eight points. Los Angeles broke a five-game losing streak and earned just their second win in 12 games. Since Dec. 19, the Kings are now 5-15-2.
Flames missed opportunities in loss to Kings
A few factors stand out in Calgary’s defeat:
- The Flames began the game a little flat, losing the shots on battle 13-8 during the first period. Eventually Calgary finished with an edge of 38-33.
- Calvin Peterson was sharp for the Kings … aside from the Flames’ 1-0 goal. Yes, Calgary opened with a lead.
- The teams combined for the first three goals in less than 90 seconds, including two Kings goals in 39 seconds. David Rittich looked incensed by the Flames’ defensive lapses during that span.
- Calgary received a lengthy 5-on-3 power play opportunity during the third period, but couldn’t connect.
Quite a night for Kurtis MacDermid
Players stood out for both teams, even beyond Peterson. Elias Lindholm gave the Flames life with two late goals, cutting the Kings’ lead to 3-2 and 4-3. Jeff Carter nabbed an all-too-rare point, scoring the game-winning goal. MacDermid may not forget this one, though:
- MacDermid fought with Milan Lucic early in the game. No word on if they fought because of a joke about Lucic’s frosted tips.
- While it wasn’t the game-winner, MacDermid’s 3-1 goal was significant.
- Overall, he finished with that goal, the fight, a +3 rating, three hits, and a blocked shot in 12:17 of time on ice.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.