Game Takes: Flames 4 Kings 4 (OT)

October 11th, 2017 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

One of the turning points late last season was the Drew Doughty / Matthew Tkachuk conflict in the teams 3rd and 2nd last meetings.

The elbow of Matthew Tkachuk made headlines, garnered him a two games suspension, and sort of sapped the life out of him for the rest of the regular season and playoffs; he just was never the same.

And so it was fitting that Tkachuk scored twice to pace the Flames in Doughty’s barn early in the 2017-18 season to help pace the Flames to a come from behind 4-3 overtime victory in Los Angeles on Wednesday night. The win allowed the Flames to sweep Southern California on a brief two game road trip, but also hand the Kings their first loss of the young season as the Flames run their streak to three straight games as they lay aim at Vegas? at the top of the Pacific standings.

Oh and a legend suited up for the Flames, and looked pretty damn good on some board cycle shifts with his new linemates Sam Bennett and Kris Versteeg. More on that later.

The Flow

Jaromir Jagr didn’t have the greatest of starts in a Calgary uniform as his first shift featured a blown tire, his line getting stuck in their own zone under pressure, but finished well with a moderate Jagr scoring chance. The Flames as a whole were on point to start the game playing a solid 200 foot game before going on the powerplay. Late in the two minutes the Flames go ahead when Matthew Tkachuk brings the puck out from behind the net and stuffs it on Quick to make it 1-0. Jagr’s next shift is a beauty as his line goes to work on the cycle looking great. Calgary scores again when a give and go between Michael Frolik and Johnny Gaudreau results in Frolik beating an outstretched Quick to make it 2-0. The period continues with the Kings getting chances on two man advantages, but the Flames hold strong and take the 2-0 lead to the second period.

The second period looked like it was going to be scoreless as the teams traded zone time and some moderate chances but both goaltenders came up big. The period changed however on a Calgary four minute powerplay when retaliation by Andy Andreoff went after Michael Stone hit Clifford clean in the Calgary zone. It was a chance for Calgary to seize the game by going up three but instead they were awful on the man advantage completely handing momentum to the Kings. Soon after the Flames get caught once again with their bottom line and bottom pairing on the ice and just like that the Kings are on the board, Smith’s shut out string is snapped and the games is set for a tight third period.

Momentum lost in the second clearly made it’s way into a trend in the third as well as the Kings score almost identical back to back Dustin Brown goals in the third period to go ahead for the first time in the game. Just 14 seconds in Mark Giordano inexplicably leaves Brown by himself in front of the net for a deflection goal to make it 2-2. Two minutes later Dougie Hamilton does a better job of keeping Brown away from the cage, but the King reaches out and deflects another past Smith; he had no chance on either goal. The Flames continue to get just run over as the Kings build up a 12-1 lead in third period shots, Mike Smith the only thing between a close game and a runaway. Just when all looked lost the Flames find that bounce, a drop pass to Matthew Tkachuk and just like that it’s 3-3, Tkachuk’s 2nd goal of the game. From the game clipped at a frenetic pace. Back and forth chances, some cheap shots, a screaming match in the penalty boxes, the game had it all. But neither team can find that within 60 minute clincher to deny their division rival a key point and the game goes to over time.

The overtime period wasn’t all that pretty for the Flames. Some forced plays and time in their own zone had it looking like a King victory until Sean Monahan out muscled a King and took the puck up the ice on a three on one. Monahan to Gaudreau to Brodie and back to Monahan for a tap in goal and a huge two points for the Flames.

Possession Stats

1st Period – The Flames had a 14-11 edge in shot attempts, Kings had a 29-20 edge in all situations (18-6 on the powerplay), Ironically the Flames scored the only powerplay goal.
2nd Period – The Kings dominated the second to the tune of a 17-11 five on five shot advantage as the Flames clearly sagged after a great first period. The margin was 22-14 in all situations.
3rd Period – All L.A. in the first 13 minutes of the third period which could be seen in the shot attempts as they manhandled the Flames by a 24-12 margin. In all situations it was 29-17 L.A.
Overtime – Just three shot attempts, two early by the Kings and one by the Flames that mattered.

Players – In a game that goes lopsided against you, there are bound to be a few players with some pretty rough corsi stats on the night; the Flames didn’t disappoint. Only two Flames were on the positive side of the ledge, Kris Versteeg with 59% and Sam Bennett with 52%, every other player was on the “getting fed” side of the balance sheet. The worst culprits included; Gaudreau, Stone, Brouwer, Backlund, Ferland, Monahan and Glass all under 40% as the first and fourth lines had rough nights. Jaromir Jagr was at 44% and the 7th best number on the club.

Three Stars
1. Matthew Tkachuk: His 2nd career two goal game, the first was just over a year ago in a game in San Jose that helped keep him up for the year. This one as an established player was tonic for the team as they turned a blown lead and a zero point night into two.
2. Dustin Brown : The man has mitts. Former cap hit black sheep and captain, tonight he was simply on spot with two tip in goals in front of Mike Smith.
3. Mike Smith : The Flames are still giving up too many shots on goal, and Mike Smith must still think he’s in Phoenix, but with results as the goalie fortifies the Flames until they can recover and steal two points.

Big Save

Thought the Smith back to back saves on Kopitar and Brown would be the save(s) of the night, but then Brown gets sent in alone in the third for a hat trick attempt but is denied on the backhand by Smith’s extended right pad. This guy is a gamer.

The Heel

Have to go with Glen Gulutzan in this one. I didn’t like two utilisation decisions in the second period. First coming back to the exhausted King’s PK group on an icing with the fourth line, and then having the bottom line and bottom pairing out essentially nuking Mike Smith’s shutout. One was a chance to go jugular missed, the other a bad position to put your team in with a two goal lead on the road.

Mr. Clutch

Johnny Gaudreau. He may have got owned in his own zone too many times tonight, but he was in one of his “zones” tonight with the puck as he assists on the second and fourth goals as well as drawing penalties and taking zones. He’s simply off to a great start on the season.

Odds and Ends

Honestly never thought I’d put the name “Jagr” into the Flame’s roster for a Calgarypuck game story. He’s just one of those names. Any hockey fan of any age between 35 and up to 80 has such a range of memories of a legendary hockey player. You have mullet memories from Pittsburgh with the celebration. The big deal to Washington that turned into a complete washout from the Penguins standpoint. His joining the Rangers when it seemed like everyone was joining the Rangers. His exodus to a foreign land, then his reemergence in the NHL as a fan favourite, a traveling ambassador for the sport. The hair, the smile, the highly adaptable game. But a Calgary Flame? No way. A great game to just soak it all in. I went in with very low expectations, just wanting to see the spectacle of the player, and a win from the team. … Just love the Flames game five on five this season. They transition the puck very well, they have team speed throughout the forward lines and defence, they get in quick on forecheck, are excellent on the cycle, and have added a lot of skill elements that can beat players one on one to setup chances. Defensively they just don’t panic in their own zone, they play their positions, trust each other and methodically go about breaking down whatever the opposition is trying to accomplish. The penalty kill however? Is scaring the bloody hell out of me. They gave up 14 shots in Anaheim short handed and got away with it. Tonight the same thing. They are relying on Mike Smith far too much when down a man. … I actually like Troy Boruwer’s game of late, he’s playing responsible, up tempo, two way hockey, but man that attempt to get himself a breakaway shorthanded has to get out of the zone. Brutal. … Would love to know the thinking on having the bottom pairing and fourth line on the ice any more than some freak coincidence that happens once every one or two hockey games. I ask because I want to know the thinking. Is it a risk so they can have the top two pairings with the top three lines more often than not? If so I can see it I guess. But tonight they really handed that first goal to the Kings in the exact wrong point of the game. … Mike Smith has yet to give up a bad goal this season through four starts. Tonight a screen and two tips were hardly his fault as he had little chance. He’s a bend and no break goaltender, something the Flames dearly need. … The plan was to involve Mike Smith in the attack on three on three overtime, but his only contribution tonight was stopping the puck as the Flames turned a pretty rough start to the extra period into a victory on the backs of Sean Monahan’s gut out play in his own zone. … Funny to see Mark Giordano and Dustin Brown go at each other late in the third period, they’ve hated each other for years. … The final view on Jagr was quite positive. He won’t be doing a whole lot on the rush as his foot speed isn’t there, but the tough pass cycle game enlisted by he, Bennett and Versteeg was something to watch on about 25% of their shifts. Definitely provides the Flames with a more dangerous third line. So much fun to watch this story unfold.

Next Up

The Flames return home to host the Ottawa Senators on Friday night, game time 7pm on Sportsnet.


Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Versteeg – Monahan – Ferland
Gaudreau – Bennett – Jagr
Glass – Stajan – Brouwer

Giordano – Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Bartkowski – Stone


All content is property of and cannot be used without expressed, written consent from this site.