CALGARY — Jacob Markstrom was spectacular on Tuesday making 33 saves to backstop the Calgary Flames to a critical 2-1 victory over the red-hot Los Angeles Kings.
Andrew Mangiapane and Walker Duehr provided the offence for Calgary (34-26-15), which wins its second consecutive game and improves to 7-3-2 in their last dozen outings.
The Flames opened the night four points back of the Winnipeg Jets, who occupy the final wild-card berth in the NHL’s Western Conference.
Sean Durzi had the lone goal for Los Angeles (43-21-10), which had scored 19 goals in their previous three games. The Kings have been the NHL’s hottest team, entering the night on a franchise record 12-game points streak (10-0-2).
Los Angeles entered the night two points behind Vegas and three points up on Edmonton in the battle for first place in the Pacific Division.
Starting for the 15th time in the last 16 games, it was one of Markstrom’s best games of the season as he improves to 21-20-10.
The veteran came up with numerous important saves to make the Flames’ 2-1 lead from the first period hold up the rest of the way.
In the final minute of the first period after two Flames got tangled up with one King near the Calgary blue line, Kevin Fiala had all sorts of time from the centre line in on a breakaway, but as he moved, paused at the top of the crease, Markstrom got a pad on his shot.
In the second, Markstrom flashed out his glove to deny Adrian Kempe after he broke in alone. Two minutes later when the slot opened up for Matt Roy, Markstrom jabbed out his blocker for another stop.
Late in the third, again it was Fiala with a chance, this time set up by Mike Anderson, but Markstrom sprawled across with a highlight-reel save to again deny him.
In his sixth start in goal since being acquired by the Kings in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Joonas Korpisalo lost for the first time. He falls to 15-12-4 on the season.
There was no scoring in the second period although the Flames were certain they had scored 12 minutes into the period to go ahead 3-1. After an extended stretch of frantic action around the Kings net, the puck ended up in the net off the stick of Elias Lindholm, but referee TJ Luxmore emphatically waved it off at the time.
However, a lengthy video review followed to determine if the puck had crossed the goal line before the whistle sounded. As the review went on, restless fans started to boo with the derision growing more intense when Luxmore finally turned on his mic and confirmed the decision of no goal.
It was the second video review to go against the Flames on the night and in similar circumstances. In the first in a disputed goal that also would have put Calgary ahead by two goals, Rasmus Andersson scored a goal that was waved off due to Noah Hanifin being offside.
Momentum swung halfway through the first when Andersson’s goal, which would have made it 2-0, was waved off after an offside review. Less than two minutes later, the Kings tied it.
Durzi was left with open space to skate in from the blue line and he whipped a shot into the top corner.
Calgary restored its lead at 17:59 when Duehr scored the goal that would stand up as the game-winner, slipping a shot past Korpisalo from the side of the net. It was the sixth goal in 21 games for the rookie from South Dakota, who as playing on the fourth line.
Calgary opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game cashing in on a power play.
After drawing the tripping penalty on Phillip Danault, Mangiapane then scored the goal, putting a rebound under the crossbar from in front at 1:54.
KINGS LINEUP SHUFFLE
Los Angeles made three lineup changes. Returning from a one-game suspension was Blake Lizotte. Not with the Kings to start this road trip after being injured last game was RW Gabe Vilardi (upper body). Arthur Kaliyev also drew in up front with Jaret Anderson-Dolan coming out. On the blue line, Alex Edler replaced Sean Walker.
PRIDE NIGHT AT SADDLEDOME
It was Pride Night at the Saddledome with all Flames wearing custom jerseys for warm-up that were designed by local artist Megan Parker. The Flaming C on the front and the numbers featured a pattern of flora and fauna from Alberta prairies arranged to reflect the rainbow-coloured pride flag.
Kings: Road trip continues Thursday against the Oilers.
Flames: Head to Vancouver to take on the Canucks on Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2023.
Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press