Kings take tough 4-2 loss at hands of Flames

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles failed to keep up as they dropped their second in a row.

Coming off of a big loss to the Oilers on Thursday, the Kings headed to Calgary for a battle with the Flames. Looking to get back on track, goalie David Rittich got the start for the first time since March 20 in a shutout win over the Wild. Calgary quickly got on the board first as Nazem Kadri’s 24th score of the season made it a 1-0 game.

Less than a minute later, Los Angeles drew even via a power-play goal from Adrian Kempe. Before the period could come to an end, Martin Pospisil regained a 2-1 lead for the Flames with his 8th goal of the year. In the second, a quiet first 10 minutes kept Calgary ahead with goalie Jacob Markstrom doing some nice work. Eventually, Blake Coleman was able to extend the Flames’ lead to 3-1 with a power-play score.

Late in the period, Anze Kopitar brought the deficit back to 1 with his 25th of the season. Los Angeles headed into the second intermission down 1 and needed a comeback to come away with the win. Unfortunately, the only score in the final period would come from Calgary’s MacKenzie Weegar as the Flames took a 4-2 win and snapped a 5-game skid.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Kings allow 3 power-play scores

Following along with the trend set so far this season, Los Angeles came up short after allowing multiple power-play scores. They headed into Saturday’s contest as the team in the NHL allowing the least total goals with 1 less man on the ice, but quickly lost their spot at the top. The scores from Nazem Kadri, Blake Coleman, and MacKenzie Weegar each came on the power-play as the Flames took advantage of a typically strong area for the Kings. They have now allowed 36 power-play goals this season, which is still tied for the third-least in the league. It was a particularly unusual way for Calgary to secure the W, as they have not been a team known to score very much during power-play situations this season. They came into the game with the third-lowest amount of power-play goals in the NHL before scoring three and jumping up to fifth-lowest. The Flames were given 6 power-play chances overall, managing a 50% success rate. Los Angeles understands first-hand that they will not be able to win many games at all in which they allow multiple power-play goals. It has been an area of excellence for them this season, and they will need to return to form if they wish to prevent the losing streak from growing any larger.

Rittich allows 4 in 6th loss of the year

Throughout most of the season, goalie David Rittich has seemed to develop a pattern. In games where he is able to allow less than 4 goals, his record is 10-1. However, when he allows 4 goals or more, the results drastically differ. In the start on Saturday, he saved 31 of 35 shots as the Flames were able to reach the 4-score mark. The loss brought his record to 11-6-3, and he is now 2-2 in the month of March.

With the team’s 2 recent losses, they have dropped to 4th place in the Pacific Division and are now trying to hold on to the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. The Golden Knights currently hold a 3-point lead over Los Angeles, and it seems as if there will be a tight race throughout the remainder of the season to see which of the two squads can avoid a Wild Card spot. Rittich and his fellow goalie Cam Talbot will need to come up with some clutch play in the month of April if the Kings wish to run through the tape in a solid fashion.

Kopitar scores 25th of the season

Despite the team’s loss, Anze Kopitar stuck with the trend of his career against the Flames and scored against them. Heading into the game, the captain had 57 career points against Calgary in 67 career games (including 14 points in his last 13 games). He sat one goal shy of tying Wayne Gretzky for the fourth-most goals against the Flames by a player in Kings’ history. With his power-play score late in the second period, he tied Gretzky reached 58 career points against Calgary.

It was the second power-play goal of the game for Los Angeles, who matched Calgary’s 50% success rate in such situations. Kopitar is one of just 5 active skaters to record at least 20 goals vs the Flames, behind just Joe Pavelski and Patrick Kane for the most points against them among all active skaters. While his efforts ultimately would not come in a winning effort, it’s nice to know that Kopitar was able to bring his A-game once again as he faced off against a familiar foe.

The Kings have gone 1-2 on their road trip thus far and will finish it off on Monday afternoon as they head to Winnipeg and face the Jets. They currently hold the third spot in the Central Division but are ice-cold and have lost their past 6 games. It should be a fun battle between two teams who desperately wish to end their losing streaks and get closer to clinching a playoff spot.

The game is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. PT.