Game 37; 24-11-2
CALGARY — They were riding high on this road trip winning their first three games, but closing it out was not going to be easy. The Los Angeles Kings went into Calgary to face a Flames team who, before losing on Tuesday night, had won 11-straight on home ice. In addition, the Flames took four of five games from the Kings last season. But that was the past and the silver-and-black reminded the Flames of that, defeating them by 4-1 count to sweep the road trip and end 2015 on a high note.
Both teams had a plethora of chances to open the game but it was the Kings who got the first break in this one.
At the 11:04 mark, Marian Gaborik came streaking into the Flames zone when he wristed a shot that handcuffed Karri Ramo to open the scoring. The goal was Gaborik’s eighth from Tanner Pearson and his 41st point in 51 career games against Calgary. The shots were even at 10 apiece through the opening 20 minutes.
In the second, the Kings put the pressure on, outshooting the Flames by an 11-4 margin and adding a couple of goals in the process.
Just 1:46 into the middle frame, Tyler Toffoli took a shot on Ramo that bounced to Anze Kopitar whose shot was shoveled in by Milan Lucic (his 11th) to give Los Angeles a two-goal lead. Then, just 1:18 later, it was a new duo that teamed up for its second goal in as many games.
After Michael Mersch scored his first-career goal on Tuesday from Andy Andreoff, the youngster recorded his first-career assist, setting up the aforementioned Andreoff in front, who beat Ramo for his third of the year. Just like that, the Kings were up by a field goal.
Calgary captain Mark Giordano broke up Jonathan Quick‘s shutout bid early in the third but that was all the offense the Flames could generate on this night as they lose back-to-back games while the Kings have won four-in-a-row.
Tanner Pearson added a late empty-netter — a power play goal assisted by Gaborik — to ice the game for Los Angeles.
This was another good offensive showing by the silver-and-black mixed in with timely defensive stops. One of which was courtesy of Milan Lucic who backhanded a sure-goal out of harm’s way in the second.
Overall, this road swing could not have gone any smoother for the Los Angeles Kings as they reach the 50-point plateau in 37 games; the third-fastest in team history behind the 1980-81 (36 games) and the 2013-14 squads (35 games).
The last time the Kings were in Calgary, they were officially eliminated from playoff contention. The Kings have come a long way since then.
As hot as they have been away from home, though, the Kings must now return to STAPLES Center where they will open 2016 for a Saturday afternoon tilt playing host to the Philadelphia Flyers.