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King’s Win Streak Ends at Four After 6-5 Loss to Flames

Calgary Flames goalie Jakub Markstrom robbed Anze Kopitar and the Los Angeles Kings of at least one point.



What an ending!

Calgary Flames goalie Jakub Markstrom robbed Anze Kopitar and the Los Angeles Kings of at least one point Monday night. With just 21.8 seconds remaining, Markstrom shut the door on a seemingly wide-open net to secure a 6-5 victory over the LA Kings. 

The Kings were riding high after a strong 4-0 homestand, but couldn't keep the good times rolling in Calgary. After falling behind early, the Kings rallied back with two quick goals from Arthur Kaliyev, before falling apart. Down 4-2 after one period, and 6-3 after two, the Kings gave themselves too much work in the end.

"You start getting a little desperate and it starts going your way, but it's too little too late," said Todd McLellan. "You can pick any one of the, probably, 20 moments during the game and eliminate it and it might give us a better chance but we still weren't good enough."

The Kings didn't lie down and accept defeat. If not for a miraculous save by Markstrom, they would have left Calgary with at least a point. 

"It's good, we didn't roll over we didn't quit," said McLellan. "But the fact that we were in that situation was pretty unique. We were a shot away from at least getting a point, the goaltender made a really good save. But again, I don't think we should lose sight of how this game evolved just because we clawed back and made it six-five. There's a lot of things we have to fix."

The Kings were far from good enough defensively Monday night. They reverted back to the play that saw them concede 34 goals in their first seven games. Giving up too many odd-man rushes, not clearing the front of their net and falling asleep too often in their own zone. 

LA Kings goalie Jonathan Quick ended with a .793 save percentage and -2.6 goals saved above expected. A stat line that's simply not good enough. It must be acknowledged that he was hung out too dry all too often though. And after stopping 52 of 53 shots in two games last week, he gets a pass tonight. 

A big positive has to be Kaliyev's two goals and overall play. With two points Kaliyev moved into third on the team in points (6-7-13) and is on pace for 29 goals and 62 points. Not bad for a player logging fourth-line minutes and second powerplay time. The breakout of Gabe Vilardi has stolen headlines, rightfully so, but Kaliev's start can't be understated. The Kings might have two breakout stars on their hands.

The Kings are now 0-3 against the Pacific Division this season, an unsustainable record if they hope to make a postseason return. Their trip won't get any easier Wednesday, coming up against the red-hot Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers. 

This is the Kings and Oiler's first meeting since the playoffs last season. Where McDavid finished the series with eight points in the final three games. The Kings will have to tighten it up defensively, or it's going to be another high-scoring night for McDavid.

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