Monahan lifts Flames past Kings in OT
LOS ANGELES — The Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings engaged in one of the more entertaining games of the early season, battling on even terms Wednesday until one of the Flames’ young stars ended the evening.
Sean Monahan netted the winner at 1:02 of overtime, and Matthew Tkachuk scored two goals as Calgary defeated Los Angeles 4-3.
The Flames (3-1-0) swept their two-game California trip and won for the fourth time in their past six games against Los Angeles. Calgary goalie Mike Smith stopped 42 shots and improved his career record to 16-8-1 against the Kings.
Michael Frolik and Monahan each had a goal and an assist for Calgary.
Only in his second season, Tkachuk has become a nemesis for Los Angeles. Late last season, he delivered a heavy hit on Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, and the repercussions continued into this season. The two engaged in a shouting match from the penalty box while serving minor penalties in the third period Wednesday.
Tkachuk declined to speak about his personal battle with Doughty but did remark that the game had a high level of intensity for an October matchup.
“I never really look at it as a battle between players,” Tkachuk said. “They’ve got a lot of guys that are passionate and all that, so it makes for divisional rivalry. They’re right up there with Edmonton. Those are passionate games to play and fun games. I thought that was a really fun game to watch.”
Despite the consecutive wins in California, Flames coach Glen Gulutzan believes there is considerable work to be done.
“We have to get better. We’re giving up way too much,” Gulutzan said. “I thought it was our goalie that bailed us out here. I didn’t think we were bad for the first 30 minutes. After that four-minute power play where we got outworked, the Kings really took the game over in a big way. We haven’t given up this much since this time last year. We need to clean it up.”
Los Angeles (2-0-1) got two goals and an assist from Dustin Brown plus a goal and an assist from Anze Kopitar. Jonathan Quick stopped 33 shots.
Despite the loss, Kings coach John Stevens was upbeat about Brown’s performance. The veteran winger has struggled through multiple seasons but looks refreshed with a new coaching staff in place.
“He’s a good player and he had a good summer,” Stevens said. “I think he’s excited about being back on track. He’s earned the right to play a lot of key situations.
“He and Kopitar have a long history of being good together. They’ve been great together all training camp. He’s a net-front guy that we want on the power play that’s creating a lot for us, playing a power game. And with that comes confidence. Bottom line: He is a real good player in the league.”
Brown concurred with Stevens, and he expects to be productive alongside Kopitar.
“We were feeling pretty good earlier in the game,” Brown said. “We’re just connecting it all together, probably towards the last five minutes of the second (period) we started making plays. We had a couple good looks before Anze scored and just kind of rolled it into the third period, had a lot of good looks in the third.”
Monahan finished off an odd-man rush for his second goal of the season to give Calgary its third consecutive win.
The Kings took a 3-2 lead on Brown’s two goals in a space of 1:44 early in the third. Brown tipped a shot by Drew Doughty 14 seconds into the period, then converted a deflection off Derek Forbort’s wrist shot for the lead marker. Alex Iafallo earned his first NHL point on Brown’s game-tying goal.
Tkachuk tied the game at 3-3 with his second goal of the contest at 10:59 of the third period. Tkachuk was left unguarded in the slot on an odd-man break, and his wrist shot trickled past Quick’s left pad for the goal. Dougie Hamilton and Frolik earned assists.
Tkachuk gave Calgary a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 3:56 of the first period. Tkachuk walked out from the behind the net and converted his own rebound for the score. Mikael Backlund and Mark Giordano recorded assists.
The Flames extended to a 2-0 lead on a goal by Frolik at 7:47 of the first period. Frolik finished off a give-and-go with Johnny Gaudreau, converting a short wrist shot. Monahan drew the additional assist.
Los Angeles pulled within 2-1 on Kopitar’s third goal of the season, at 15:44 of the second period. Kopitar took a pass from Jake Muzzin and beat Smith with a snap shot that struck the post to the left of the goalie and ricocheted into the net.
NOTES: Flames RW Jaromir Jagr made his debut and finished a minus-1 in 13:38 of ice time. The 46-year-old veteran played in his 1,712th NHL game. He has 765 goals and 1,914 points. ... Calgary scratched C Curtis Lazar, C Freddie Hamilton and D Brett Kulak. ... Los Angeles did not dress RW Jonny Brodzinski, C Nic Dowd and D Paul LaDue. ... The Kings continue their five-game homestand against Buffalo on Saturday. ... Calgary returns home to face the Ottawa Senators on Friday.