David Rittich made 21 saves for his first career NHL shutout, and Travis Hamonic’s first-period goal was all the offense for the game, as the visiting Calgary Flames beat the Los Angeles Kings 1-0 Saturday night.
Rittich — the undrafted 26-year-old from Czech Republic who was signed as a free agent in June 2016 and in his third season in North America — has been excellent this year for a Flames club that has received middling performances from the incumbent starting netminder, Mike Smith.
Rittich, who has won five of his six starts, especially sparkled in the third period, notably with clutch stops on Tanner Pearson on a partial breakaway and during the final frantic push, to the disappointment of the home crowd.
The Flames have been the league’s comeback kings this season, but came flying out of the gates and were rewarded when Hamonic scored his second goal of the season at the 2:26 mark of the opening frame.
Known more for his defensive skills, Hamonic was calling from his point position for a pass while his team was in the offensive zone. After it came to him, Hamonic worked his way to the top of the right circle and promptly wired a wrist shot into the top corner.
Calgary forward Garnet Hathaway set the perfect screen in front of Kings goalie Jack Campbell, who had no chance to make the save.
Campbell had a strong performance with a 35-save outing, but received no support from the league’s lowest scoring squad, which has just 33 goals (eight fewer than any other team) in 16 games. The Kings were especially slow out of the gates to start every period.
The hosts needed nearly seven minutes to fire a shot on goal in the opening frame, and then needed eight minutes to get a shot on goal in the second period. That trend continued in the third, when the visitors had the first six shots on net in the period.
The Kings won their first game under new head coach Willie Desjardins — who replaced the fired John Stevens a week ago — but have dropped their last two outings.
—Field Level Media