Carter, Kings Upend Flames 3-1
[Photo Courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images]
On the last leg of their extended road trip, the Kings did something that has only happened once before this season—win consecutive games. Following a 3-2 win over Edmonton on Tuesday night, the squad finished the Alberta sweep with a 3-1 victory against the hapless Calgary Flames Wednesday evening at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Los Angeles now pulls within one point of the Dallas Stars as they attempt to scratch and claw their way out of the Pacific Division cellar and to be sure, it’s better late than never.
In net, Jonathan Bernier earned the start tonight as opposed to a “not really struggling but slipping up enough to earn some extra rest” Jonathan Quick. He faced 27 shots and stopped 26 en route to his team’s victory. A T.J. Brodie wrist shot towards the end of the first period was the only puck to cross the goal line behind Bernier, who was solid every other step along the way. He’s won his last three starts, allowing a mere one goal in each of the respective efforts. Prior to the season (and really over the last 2+ years of his L.A. career), very few doubted his abilities between the pipes. It’s all there. The number of teams who would stand in a line for his services would be lengthy. Problem is that it would just be foolish to sit Quick any more than necessary. Regardless, the back-up is earning his keep with each new opportunity, thus creating the best problem the Kings could face right now. Depending of course on how seriously you treat small sample-aided “goalie controversies.”
A little more than six minutes into the first period, Dustin Brown opened up the scoring with a wrist shot past Calgary goaltender Joey MacDonald, the latest attempt at a serviceable replacement for the injured Miika Kiprusoff. The home team was able to tie up the contest later in the period, but not for long as Trevor Lewis notched his first tally of the season with an assist from the crossbar. More specifically, it was an assist from eventual first star Jeff Carter, who quickly spun around the collapsing defense before flicking a near-perfectly placed shot towards the net. It bounced just as perfectly off the iron and onto the stick of Lewis.
An uneventful second period paved the way for a smoldering effort from the Kings in the third as they wrapped up the contest in tidy fashion. With a little more than ten minutes remaining in the frame, Carter slipped another puck past MacDonald and this time into the net behind him. In 18 minutes of total ice time, he collected four shots on goal, two points, and a +2 rating. Hence the first star as well as the winning streak his team now rides back into the cozy confines of the Staples Center.
The Kings will play eight of their next nine games at home, with the first coming this Saturday afternoon against the Colorado Avalanche.