Markstrom Steals One For Desperate Flames, Playoffs Still Possible
The Calgary Flames needed a big performance from someone to get the best of the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, and they got it from goaltender Jacob Markstrom.
It's been said a few time that if the Calgary Flames somehow find themselves in the playoffs, goaltender Jacob Markstrom will have to steal some games.
The veteran backstop did exactly that in a 2-1 Flames victory against a really good Los Angeles Kings team on Tuesday night at the Saddledome.
Markstrom made more than a handful of exceptional stops. Maybe none more timely or obvious than the breakaway by dangerous Kings forward Kevin Fiala.
Walker Duehr had just scored to restore the one-goal lead, and there was less than a minute left in the opening 20 minutes when both MacKenzie Weegar and Nikita Zadorov got tripped up in the neutral zone, leaving Fiala and Viktor Arvidsson on what should have been a two-on-none rush. But Arvidsson lost his stick in the chaos. Fiala had enough time to look back over his shoulder to see he had no company and treated the breakaway like a shootout attempt.
He dangled and fired a shot that could have found the spot over the pad and under the glove. But Markstrom kicked it to the corner.
"It’s better to just not have anything in your mind and just wait him out," Markstrom said of the broken-play breakaway. "Because he wasn’t going very fast, so just wait to see what he was going to do and not bite on anything before that."
He didn't bite, but the Kings were bit by Markstrom's play. He finished with 32 saves on Pride night, which might have been his best showing of the season against a stellar opponent.
"I mean, I was making some stops," Markstrom said. "Which helps."
Three Strikes for Flames on Overturned Goals
The Calgary Flames scored more goals that didn't count than ones that did. One of them was an epic review that sparked much debate both at the Saddledome and online. With the benefit of some serious zoom and a basic grasp of physics, it appeared that Flames centre Elias Lindholm had smacked the puck over the goal-line. But without a real clear picture of the puck in past the paint, the call on the ice of no-goal stood. No conclusive evidence.
Earlier, Rasmus Andersson barely celebrated his shorthanded goal because the rush looked like it might be offside. Tyler Toffoli made an extra move at the blueline and Noah Hanifin was heading in hot as well. In the end, the ruling was that it was a dead play.
Finally, MacKenzie Weegar had an empty-netter but the play was blown dead.
“We overcame some interesting calls and still won,” Flames head coach Darryl Sutter told reporters. “I thought two of them were goals.”
"I'm just like you guys. I'm just chilling, relaxing, see what happens."
With the game's first goal inside of the first two minutes, Andrew Mangaipane now has two goals in four games, and four points in his last seven games. It's not exactly a heater, but it's a lot better for the Calgary Flames' playoff chances if the streaky sniper get hot down this last stretch. He was coming off a nasty 10-game point drought.
Mangiapane has just 14 goals and 34 points after scoring 35 goals last season. They need him to bump that shooting percentage up and aim to hit 20 on the year to help the cause.
Walking the Walk
Walker Duehr is doing something incredible this season, without much fanfare. His goals-per-60 are up with the NHL's elite, as he scored in his second straight game. He now has six goals and 10 points in 21 contests this season while playing primarily on the fourth line. The rookie has three goals and six points in his last six games, but has some healthy scratches mixed between games on this hot streak, too.
He collected an errant Trevor Lewis shot from the end boards and quickly fired it past goalie Jonas Korpisalo to net his first winning goal in the NHL. Some wondered if the play was a missed shot or intentional bank pass from Lewis.
"I don't know, you might have to ask him," Duehr grinned. "If I'm a betting man, I think he was trying to shoot. Just a good bounce for us and I was able to put it in."