Gaudreau, Monahan lead Calgary Flames over Los Angeles Kings 5-2
Johnny Gaudreau showed off a little bit of everything in his arsenal to lead the Calgary Flames to a 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday.
Gaudreau set up goals by Sean Monahan and Michael Stone to give the Flames an early lead, then scored the second of two Calgary goals 50 seconds apart early in the second period.
“For us here in our own building we wanted to get off to an early lead and play with the lead throughout the game,” said Gaudreau, who leads the Flames in scoring with 52 points (16 goals, 36 assists) in 62 games.
“We came out flying, had a couple big goals there, and played with the lead the rest of the game. It was a huge win for us.”
Monahan also finished with a goal and two assists for the Flames (41-27-4), while goalie Brian Elliott made 19 saves to record his 11th straight win to tie a club record set by Mike Vernon in the 1988-89 season.
“I think any time you’re mentioned in the same sentence as a guy like Mike Vernon it’s an accomplishment,” said Elliott, who has gone 15-1-1 dating back to Jan. 26. “It’s pretty cool to be able to have done that but for right now, it’s the two points we got and they didn’t.”
Michael Stone, Mark Giordano and Kris Versteeg also scored for the Flames, who moved into third spot in the NHL’s Pacific Division past the Edmonton Oilers (38-24-9).
Anze Kopitar and Nic Dowd replied for the Kings (34-20-7), who remain six points behind the Nashville Predators for the final Western Conference wild-card spot.
“You break it down they played well and we weren’t good enough tonight,” said L.A. forward Jarome Iginla, who had an assist to give him four points in eight games since being acquired from the Colorado Avalanche on March 1. “Those quick strikes hurt us.”
The Kings will face another tough test in Edmonton against the Oilers on Moday.
“Obviously going into Edmonton, we have to get the two points, that’s the bottom line,” said Kopitar. “That’s what we’ve got to think every night for every game.”
Jonathan Quick started in net for the Kings, but was replaced by Ben Bishop at 11:36 of the first period after giving up two goals on 11 shots. Bishop went on to stop 14-of-16 shots.
Monahan opened the scoring at 8:15 of the first period when he took a drop pass and fired a shot to the top corner over Quick’s glove hand. Stone then blasted a slap shot past Quick at 11:36 to put the Flames up 2-0.
Kopitar replied for the Kings with 1:20 to play in the opening period as he redirected a pass from Dustin Brown past Elliott.
Giordano put the Flames back up by a pair 47 seconds into the second period before Gaudreau converted on breakaway chance 50 seconds later when he lifted a backhand shot over Bishop’s left pad.
“When Johnny wants the puck, you know he wants the puck,” said Monahan, who set up the goal. “He’s loud. That’s what good players do. He wanted it and he made no mistake.”
Dowd cut Calgary’s lead to 4-2 at 5:31 by redirecting Paul LaDue’s point shot past Elliott for his first goal since Dec. 22, ending a 33-game drought.
The Kings couldn’t get much going after that as the Flames tightened up defensively to record their second straight win and 12th in their past 13 games.
Versteeg rounded out the scoring with an empty netter with 24.8 seconds to play in the game.
Prior to the game, the Flames announced on Twitter that Micheal Ferland would not play against the Kings and that he was under observation for the mumps. … Alex Chiasson took Ferland’s place on a line with Monahan and Gaudreau and had an assist in the first period for his fifth point in his past seven games. … Ferland’s absence made room for Curtis Lazar to make his debut for the Flames. Lazar had yet to get into the lineup since being acquired from the Ottawa Senators on March 1. He recorded an assist on Versteeg’s empty netter.