Kings playing on rookie mode against Flames, force Markstrom goalie pull

The lack of adequate goaltending has been a story all year long for the Calgary Flames. Jacob Markstrom was a Top 10 netminder in the league last year, but this year he has been less than stellar. On the year, he has a .889 save percentage, a .298 goals against average, and a total record of 19-19-10. As opposed to last year when he had a .922 save percentage, a 2.22 goals against average, and a total record of 37-15-9.

The difference in those two records is astounding in itself, but the production on the ice just hasn’t been there for Markstrom this year. And he led his Flames into Arena, where the Los Angeles Kings have been red-hot this season, and proceeded to get pulled after letting six goals in.

Flames’ backup goaltender Dan Vladar made his way to the net to start the third period, but still could not stop the Kings’ from scoring as LA managed to get two more past him, finishing the game with an 8-2 throttling of the Calgary Flames.

First Period: LAK 4, CGY 0

Carl Grundstrom opened the scoring with a little less than 12:00 minutes to go in the first period and after that, the flood gates opened. Prior to Grundstrom’s goal, the Kings had five shots on goal, and Markstrom saved them all. But, the nice dangle around an outstretched Markstrom would usher the Kings into one of their highest scoring games in recent memory.

The last time the Kings got close to the eight-goal mark was on February 9, 2016 when the Kings lit up the Bruins 9-2.

After Grundstrom’s goal, about three minutes later, defenseman Drew Doughty was patient with the puck and held it on his stick for a while before firing it successfully past Markstrom to make it a 2-0 Los Angeles lead.

About a minute later, Gabriel Vilardi sneaks it past Markstrom after an incredible forechecking effort from Blake Lizotte and Alex Iafallo. Lizotte poked it free from Flames’ defenseman Nikita Zadorov, Alex Iafallo picked up the puck, passed it to a wide open Gabriel Vilardi who scored far-side past Markstrom to make it a 3-0 Kings lead.

With a little less than five minutes left, the Kings scored another goal. This time it was on a power-play goal by Viktor Arvidsson who scored on a cross-ice pass from Adrian Kempe. The reason the Kings were on the power play was because Flames’ center Mikael Backlund got called for holding on Kings’ defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov.

The Flames did not record any goals in the first period, so the Kings went into the locker room after the first 20 minutes with a 4-0 lead.

Second Period: LAK 6, CGY 1

After being blanked in the first period, the Flames came out with a vengeance as former King Tyler Toffoli scored in the first 30 seconds of the second period, finally putting Calgary on the board.

However, the steam would wear off for the Flames as the next two goals were scored by Los Angeles’ Adrian Kempe. Nearly had a hat-trick in the second period after his back-to-back goals roughly four minutes apart. His first goal came off an incredible pass through four Flames from defenseman Alex Edler.

Not even five minutes later, Kempe was at it again with another goal, giving the Kings a 6-1 lead heading into the final 20 minutes of the game.

Third Period: LAK 8, CGY 2

Much like the second period, the Flames opened the scoring with a goal, but it was not enough to overcome a four-goal deficit. This time Noah Hanifin scored in tight on Pheonix Copley off of a pass from Blake Coleman. And after that, LA scored two more goals to follow the Flames goal. One by Mikey Anderson and another one by Carl Grundstrom.

Both Grundstrom and Kempe had near hat-tricks with two goals apiece. And the game ended with a Kings’ 8-2 win. Los Angeles continues to be a red-hot team in the West and is now tied with the Vegas Golden Knights at 92 points. The storyline of Jonathan Quick’s former team and current team continues to get more interesting as the season winds down to the playoffs.