Flames smothered by Kings
CALGARY — Dustin Brown had a goal and an assist and Jonathan Quick made 25 saves as the Los Angeles Kings made it back-to-back wins Thursday night with a 2-0 victory over the Calgary Flames.
On an evening that Calgary honoured Canadian Olympians in a pre-game ceremony, the night was spoiled by a pair of players from the U.S. Olympic hockey team.
Quick was steady all night in collecting his third shutout of the season and 29th of his career. He was especially sharp through the opening 40 minutes as Calgary built up a 23-13 edge in shots but trailed 1-0.
After scoring the first goal three minutes into the game, Brown helped the Kings get an important insurance goal, setting up Dwight King in front of the net 3:30 into period three.
King neatly slipped away from Flames defenceman Mark Giordano and was set up at the top of the crease by Brown.
Brown and Quick were part of the U.S. Olympic team that lost the bronze medal hockey game to Finland.
Los Angeles (33-22-6) has won three in a row including its first two games after the Olympic Break. They opened their short two-game road trip with a 6-4 victory in Colorado on Wednesday night.
In third place in the Pacific Division, the victory increases the Kings lead over the Vancouver Canucks to seven points.
Calgary (22-30-7), which went into the break on a 6-1-1 tear, lost for the first time at home in six weeks. The Flames had won their last five games at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The story line for the Flames was the NHL debut of two of their top prospects — both of them Finns.
Making his NHL debut in net was Joni Ortio, who was called up from the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League when fellow Finn Karri Ramo went down with a knee injury on Feb. 1. Ortio backed up Reto Berra for the final three games before the Olympic break.
Ortio had 22 stops.
The 22-year-old had been playing excellent hockey with the Heat where he had compiled a 20-6-0 record with a 2.22 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.
In addition to Ortio, also making his NHL debut was 20-year-old Markus Granlund, Calgary’s second round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft.
Granlund logged 7:14 in ice time, centring the Flames fourth line with Paul Byron and rugged Kevin Westgarth. In his limited time, the younger brother of Minnesota’s Mikeal Granlund, looked impressive registering two shots on goal.
As a rookie in the AHL, he is tied for fourth in the league in goals with 23 in 50 games.
The Flames were playing their first game in 19 days and the rust showed early. On his second shift, defenceman steady Kris Russell bobbled the puck deep in his own end with it being promptly intercepted by Brown who darted to the net and stuffed a backhand behind Ortio.
After that goal on an opportunity that came out of nowhere, Ortio settled in nicely. Just over a minute into the third period, he displayed a quick glove hand stabbing a shot off the stick of Brown as he bid for his second goal.
One of Calgary’s best chances to the tie it came late in the second period when it got its first power play. The Flames controlled the puck in the LA zone for the entire two minutes but they could not beat Quick.
Once they took the 2-0 lead, the Kings really shut down the Flames and ended up outshooting Calgary 11-2 in the third period.