Fri, 28 Jan 2022

High-flying Flames kick off road trip vs. struggling Kings

Field Level Media
02 Dec 2021, 12:19 GMT+10

The Calgary Flames continue to play an electric brand of hockey whether at home or on the road.

They'll try to stay consistent with their success when they take on the Los Angeles Kings in the opener of a four-game West Coast trip on Thursday night.

The Flames are coming off a 2-1 shootout winagainst the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday. They've won five of six overall and three straight on the road by a combined score of 14-2.

"Everything's a lot more fun when you're winning." said Calgary forward Milan Lucic, who scored the lone goal in regulation on Monday.

The Kings have been anything but consistent this season.

They had a seven-game winning streak sandwiched around losing streaks of six and five games, respectively.

Los Angeles came back from a three-goal, third-period deficit on Tuesday against the visiting Anaheim Ducks, only to lose 5-4 in a shootout.

"Momentum is a strange thing," Kings coach Todd McLellan said. "You can gain and lose it quickly."

The Kings welcomed defenseman Drew Doughty back against the Ducks after he missed the previous 16 games with a knee injury. Doughty, the 2016 Norris Trophy winner, picked up where he left off and played 27:55 while contributing an assist.

"Pretty solid, calms things down, good vision, willing to shoot the puck," McLellan said of Doughty. "We were comfortable with him. We knew we would be, and now it's sustaining that once the wear and the tear gets back on the body."

Another positive to take forward for the Kings was the tying goal scored by Dustin Brown with 4:26 left in the third period, which allowed Los Angeles to get to overtime and earn at least a point.

Brown, who led the Kings with 17 goals his 17th year with the team last season, had gone 15 games without a goal before scoring against Anaheim, forcing McLellan to move him around the lineup.

"He's an important part of our team, he's been snakebit for a while," McLellan said. "To get one, hopefully, that gets him going. He's a proud, proud veteran player, longtime King. He carries that with him and it's hard. Maybe now, he's a little bit free to relax."

The Flames have stayed away from long losing streaks this season by getting solid goaltending and averaging 3.23 goals a game, eighth best in the NHL. Calgary averaged 2.77 goals last season, which was 20th in the NHL.

Lucic said a big difference is the Flames are getting more physical and winning the puck back in dangerous areas.

"You create offense by checking and getting the puck back and having the puck on your stick," he said. "That's the thing where I think we've grown as a team through 22 games here."

Calgary's style of play has caught the attention of other head coaches in the league.

"They play a high-pressure game," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "They put a lot of pucks in deep. You've got to be able to handle their pressure."

--Field Level Media

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