MacDonald without support as Flames flattened by defending Stanley Cup champs
Goalie solid, but Calgary no match even though Kings were playing on back-to-back nights
Mid-game collision with Trevor Lewis? That, Joey MacDonald survived.
Feeble offence provided by his teammates? Nope. There was no overcoming that.
Shut out Monday in Phoenix, the Calgary Flames followed up Wednesday with a single goal in a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings in National Hockey League action at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
“We’re getting in these close games and we’re not finding a way to get it done,” said Jarome Iginla, who did get an assist, who did put nine shots on net, but saw his scoring drought grow — to two goals in 26 games.
“We still need to be better in our own zone. We’re giving up too many point-blank chances . . . and Mac was very good in there. Some huge saves.”
And some huge collisions.
Early in the second period with the Kings ahead 2-1 — Dustin Brown and Trevor Lewis for the travellers, T.J. Brodie for the hosts — MacDonald had been decked by Lewis.
The goalie got rolled into his own net. The perpetrator got two minutes — and nothing else.
“Joey MacDonald gave us a great game, but the bottom line is we have to be a grittier team,” said Flames coach Bob Hartley. “It’s as simple as this. We need to be in people’s face. They ran our goalie. There was no consequences to this, and that’s just not acceptable.
“We might not have the biggest team, but when you play as a team, you have to stick up for your teammates. And if it means you need to take a slap for the entire team or whether we go five guys, I think team unity is very important. We have a great group of guys, but we’re just not playing tough enough.”
MacDonald, however, was fine. He didn’t blame Lewis, either. (“He came at me . . . but I don’t think he meant to. But, yeah, he hit me pretty good.”)
He went on to rob Brown, the best player on the ice, twice — once in the second period, once in the third.
“Yeah, you know what? I felt pretty good out there,” said MacDonald. “We came in waves, I thought. Parts of the first, we were pretty good. Parts of the third, we were pretty good. But you’ve got to come out and play 60 minutes. It’s tough to win hockey games when you only play 20, 25 minutes a night.”
In fact, when Jeff Carter scored the lone goal of the third — at 9:27 — the Flames had had only one shot on goalie Jonathan Bernier in the period.
“In this league, when you give teams that much puck time in the offensive zone,” said Michael Cammalleri, “they’re usually going to find ways to create. That’s what happened.”
The local side, meanwhile, is having a devil of a time scoring and a devil of a time on home ice — only two victories in nine dates.
“Overall, it hasn’t been good enough,” Iginla said of the team’s work at the Saddledome. “You definitely have to find ways to win at home to move in the standings and not to slide.
“We haven’t taken advantage of our schedule so far. We know the urgency of the standings . . . what falling behind means. It’s a desperate situation where teams are pulling ahead of us.”
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