Flames Offence Explodes In 6-5 Win Over Kings
His line changes didn’t look great earlier this year, but Calgary Flames head coach might have hit on something on Monday.
Jonathan Huberdeau scored his second of the season, and the Flames got goals from every single forward line on the night.
And that was before the first period ended.
They needed all of them in a wild game against their Pacific Division rival Los Angeles Kings, who got to within a goal in the 6-5 Flames victory.
It took a huge save by Jacob Markstrom in the final 20 seconds to start their first win streak since late October. And while they don’t want to be giving up a handful of goals against in a contest, it was the kind of game that can boost offensive confidence across the board.
Some guys really needed it. Their soon-to-be $10.5-million man among them.
Sutter hasn’t been easy on the team’s most dangerous playmaker. When asked earlier on Monday about why he moved Huberdeau to a line with Mikael Backlund and Trevor Lewis, his answer wasn’t exactly positive.
“Cause we’ve slotted him everywhere else and it hasn’t worked,” Sutter said bluntly.
“He’s a good player, he’s got to get going. Enough talk about it.
“You get to play lots. Perform.”
Hey, Huberdeau is just as tired of the underwhelming start with his new team as his new coach is.
“I want to be the best I can out there. It doesn’t matter what line I’m playing,” Huberdeau said Monday morning, adding he and Sutter haven’t really talked. “I want to be effective. That’s my goal.”
His goal started the scoring on the night, less than four minutes into the game. Huberdeau took a feed from Rasmus Andersson and after it bobbled off his stick initially, corralled it and fired it past Jonathan Quick for his 200th NHL snipe.
The energy he released in celebration ignited the entire Saddledome.
Arthur Kaliyev’s pair of goals 78 seconds apart starting just over a minute after Huberdeau’s goal sapped some of it away, but Andrew Mangiapane got it buzzing again.
Another guy who has started cold, Mangiapane roofed his first opportunity with a spinning wrister. It was just his third of the season after a 35-goal campaign last year.
Both linemates, Milan Lucic and Nazem Kadri, earned helpers.
Cue the fourth line.
Brett Ritchie and Blake Coleman connected on a give-and-go play in the Kings end and Ritchie would up with his fourth of the year. Their centre, Dillon Dube, didn’t factor in but he flashed his speed on his opening shift.
What about the top line?
Tyler Toffoli netted his sixth of the season with a perfectly placed one-timer from Elias Lindholm. Adam Ruzicka sprung them on the two-on-one with some good work along the boards near his own blue line.
Lindholm got one of his own on the powerplay and Ruzicka scored his second goal in as many games later in the second period to give the Calgary Flames a 6-3 lead heading into the final 20 minutes.
Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe scored on four-on-four action to make it a nail-biter. But Markstrom redeemed himself for a few he’d like back by slamming the door shut with an athletic save before time expired.