On Thursday night, the Calgary Flames wildly out-played the Buffalo Sabres in a game that was only close because of too many penalties. On Saturday night, the Flames did a much better job of staying out of the box and skated to a very solid victory over the Los Angeles Kings by a 4-3 score.

The Rundown

This may sound familiar, but the Flames played pretty well in the first 10 minutes of this game but didn’t score. Then they took a penalty and got scored on. Tobias Rieder took a pretty blatant interference penalty in the defensive zone. Six seconds later, the Kings were up after Anze Kopitar took advantage of a Dustin Brown screen to beat Cam Talbot to make it 1-0.

Later in the period the Flames washed out part of their own power play after Mikael Backlund was called for slashing. Three seconds after the Kings penalty expired, Drew Doughty’s point shot eluded Talbot to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.

But the Flames answered back late in the period after Dillon Dube drew a penalty. On the ensuing advantage, Backlund’s shot attempt careened over to Milan Lucic and he bonked it in to cut the Kings lead to 2-1.

Shots were 12-8 Flames and scoring chances 3-2 Flames in the first period.

Zac Rinaldo scored a goal early in the second period to tie the game. On a line change, Dube chased down a loose puck in the offensive zone and started a passing play, ending with Rinaldo beating Jack Campbell to tie the game at 2-2.

The Flames took the lead midway through the period off a vintage Johnny Gaudreau play. Gaudreau grabbed the loose puck inside the defensive blueline, and went for a skate. The defender followed him below the goal line, opening a lane for pass (and tap-in) for Sean Monahan in the low slot. That made it 3-2 Flames.

Shots were 11-10 Kings and scoring chances 9-8 Kings in the second period.

Early third, the Flames extending their lead. Dillon Dube’s pass sprung Derek Ryan for a scoring chance. Jack Campbell made the initial save, but Dube drove the net and buried the rebound to make it 4-2 Flames.

The Kings cut the lead to 4-3 late in the period after Matt Roy’s point shot found its way inside the far post. Talbot had to battle a multi-man screen as Michael Stone battled a King out front.

But that’s as close as the Kings got. Third period shots were 14-8 Kings, while scoring chances were 7-6 Flames.

Why the Flames Won

They were superior to the Kings at five-on-five and didn’t get rattled when things didn’t go their way. They responded to the Kings’ structural hockey with some of their own, and their patience paid off. Plus, they largely avoided getting into penalty trouble.

Red Warrior

Dube had his first multi-point game in his NHL career, so we’ll give him the nod.

The Turning Point

There were two, really. Rinaldo’s goal drew the Flames even and gave them some momentum in the second period. Dube’s goal gave them breathing room and stood as the eventual game-winner.

The Numbers

Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.

Giordano 61.5 50.0 0.425
Dube 60.9 16.7 2.300
Mangiapane 57.9 42.9 0.130
Andersson 57.1 42.9 0.400
Stone 52.4 60.0 0.525
Tkachuk 52.2 50.0 0.125
Backlund 52.2 40.0 0.865
Rieder 50.0 0.0 0.530
Ryan 47.8 0.0 1.450
Lindholm 47.8 50.0 0.060
Monahan 46.4 40.0 1.120
Lucic 45.8 0.0 1.550
Gaudreau 44.4 50.0 1.075
Hanifin 44.1 10.0 -0.025
Brodie 42.3 60.0 0.025
Hamonic 40.5 11.1 -0.025
Frolik 38.9 25.0 -0.200
Rinaldo 38.5 0.0 0.900
Talbot 0.750

This and That

Lucic’s goal was his 200th career NHL goal. The primary assist went to Backlund, who got his 200th career NHL assist.

Rinaldo and Kyle Clifford were ejected from the game late in the second period after getting in a fight during a television timeout. Clifford was upset after Rinaldo crunched Kings forward Nikolai Prokhorkin prior to the timeout.

Up Next

The Flames (15-12-4) are on the road again for a pair. They head to Denver for a Monday evening game with the Colorado Avalanche, followed by a Tuesday evening stop in Glendale to face the Arizona Coyotes.

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