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Flames hold Kings to 14 shots, hand them their 4th loss in 6 games – Daily News

CALGARY, Alberta — Momentum remains elusive for the Kings this season, and being held to 14 shots isn’t the path to developing any.

Mikael Backlund had two goals and an assist as the Calgary Flames beat the Kings 4-1 on Friday night, handing them their second loss in as many nights after the team started its three-game Canadian trip with a win in Vancouver.

Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan also scored for the Flames, who lead the Pacific Division standings with 32 points, one ahead of the Ducks. Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm each had two assists.

Adrian Kempe scored the lone goal for the Kings, who were coming off a 3-2 loss at Edmonton on Thursday and have dropped four of their past six games.

“We knew that was going to be a bit of a challenge,” Kings interim coach Willie Desjardins said in regards to playing on back-to-back nights.

“I thought we had a good first period, though. I thought our guys skated well. We didn’t hit the net, so we didn’t get the shots, but we had some good chances.”

After giving up an early goal, rookie Kings goalie Cal Petersen finished with 33 saves.

“For a young player, he’s been really quite remarkable to come in with his composure,” Desjardins said. “He gives up that early one, which could throw anybody off their game. It didn’t. He stayed with it and was solid throughout the game.”

Calgary opened the scoring 36 seconds into the first period when Backlund let a harmless-looking shot go from the top of the faceoff circle and beat Petersen over his left pad.

Although the Flames outshot the Kings 9-4 in the opening 20 minutes, they weren’t able to get any more pucks past Petersen, who slid across his crease to deny another scoring opportunity by Backlund with 1:24 remaining before the first intermission.

Less than a minute before Backlund’s late opportunity, Smith made a stick save to thwart a chance from the slot by forward Dustin Brown.

Gaudreau nearly put the Flames ahead 2-0 during an early power-play chance in the second period, but his shot from the slot rang off the crossbar.

The Kings pulled even at 13:41 of the second on a goal by Kempe, who scored off a pass from Austin Wagner from behind the net.

Gaudreau had another great chance to score late in the period when he made a couple moves behind the net before his wraparound attempt went along the goal line and off the far post.

Gaudreau then rang another puck off the post early in the third before finally backhanding a shot past Petersen for the eventual game-winner on the power play at 7:44 of the third period.

“After hitting that many posts, crossbars, I think they’d be frustrated as well,” said Gaudreau, who scored on a pass from linemate Elias Lindholm past Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and Petersen. “It was just nice to finally put one in there.

“If I was going to get one, it was going to be a greasy one like that. It was good to get the lead there, on the power play too. We worked on it a little bit in practice the other day.”

Backlund and Monahan added a pair of empty-net goals in the final minute of the game to seal the victory.

“I don’t think it should’ve been a 1-1 game going into the third there with so many chances and we couldn’t find the net,” Gaudreau said. “It was nice to get rewarded there in the third.”

Goalie Mike Smith needed to make just 13 saves for his second straight win and improved to 7-7-1.

“It was a pretty boring game, to be honest,” Smith said. “But saying that, that can lead to some inconsistencies in your game and I thought our guys did a really good job of sticking with it.

“We were skating and getting the puck in the offensive zone and wearing them out on the second of back-to-backs. Great composure by our group to stick with it. It was a weird game and we found a way to win.”

NOTES

Lindholm played in his 400th NHL game. … Kings forward Ilya Kovalchuk missed the game with an ankle injury. After recording five goals and nine assists in his first 14 games with the Kings, Kovalchuk hasn’t recorded a point in his last 11 outings.

UP NEXT

Kings: Home against Carolina on Sunday



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