LOS ANGELES – After a stumbling start, the Calgary Flames have figured things out and are now one of the NHL’s hottest teams.
Daymond Langkow scored the go-ahead goal with 3:37 remaining, Miikka Kiprusoff made 34 saves, and the Flames beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 Saturday night for their sixth straight victory.
“We were definitely disappointed in how the season started,” centre Wayne Primeau said of the Flames, who opened 1-3-1. “We had a great pre-season, and then we didn’t get off on the right foot. But we’ve really paid attention to the details in practice with our forechecking and down-low coverage. I think the guys are starting to buy into it. And when you’ve get everybody on the same page, it’s a lot easier out there.”
Adrian Aucoin and Eric Nystrom also had goals, and Todd Bertuzzi earned two assists in the Flames’ seventh victory in eight meetings with the Kings.
Los Angeles rookie Oscar Moller scored on a power play in the second period and tied it 2-2 with 5:55 left. Alexander Frolov and Kyle Quincey each had two assists.
Moller, a second-round pick in the 2007 draft, has four goals in 10 games. The Kings had nine games to decide whether to keep the 19-year-old centre on their roster or send him back to his junior club.
“It’s a little bit of relief, but I can’t get too confident or too comfortable,” Moller said. “I can’t slack off or anything. I’ve got to make sure that I stick around here all year.”
Moller beat Kiprusoff to the glove side from the low slot after Langkow blocked Quincey’s slapshot from the left point with his skates. Langkow converted Bertuzzi’s backhanded feed from behind the net less than 2 1/2 minutes later for his 19th goal in 40 games against the Kings.
“There are no easy games, and we know that,” Aucoin said. “That’s the professional discipline that you need going into games, knowing that there’s not going to be a night off. We slipped a little bit, but we’re very happy with the win. It was very important.
“You don’t look ahead to the next game (at Anaheim), but we knew this was going to be a tough weekend for us. And getting these two points was a great start.”
Kiprusoff has allowed nine goals on 152 shots during Calgary’s winning streak. The 2006 Vezina Trophy winner is the only goalie to play every minute of every game for his team this season. New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur had shared that distinction until Saturday night, when he injured his left elbow in the second period against Atlanta.
“He’s been a key reason for us being unbeaten in six games,” Primeau said of Kiprusoff. “You need good goaltending. That’s an integral part of winning, and he’s done a great job. To be a good team, you have to find ways to win not-so-great games like tonight.”
The Flames opened the scoring at 16:20 of the first period with a goal credited to Nystrom after Jim Vandermeer’s slapshot caromed off players in front and slid between Jason LaBarbera’s pads. The goal was first awarded to Brandon Prust and then Primeau.
Aucoin made it 2-0 at 6:50 of the second period, beating LaBarbera to the glove side with a wrist shot after Michael Cammalleri’s centring pass from behind the net caromed off the skate of Kings defenceman Matt Greene.
“It was one of those games I felt like we should have won,” Kings captain Dustin Brown said. “You got one funny goal for them, one power-play goal – and then we miss one check and it’s three goals on less than 20 shots. But at the same time, LaBarbera played pretty good.”
Los Angeles got on the board at 12:28 of the second while Vandermeer was off for hooking. Moller got the puck from Quincey at the outer edge of the left circle, and his attempted centring pass for Michal Handzus caromed off the right skate of Calgary defenceman Dion Phaneuf and past Kiprusoff’s left leg.
“Oscar had a great effort,” Kings coach Terry Murray said. “He was very involved in the game, in the real hot spots on the ice that he has no hesitancy to go into. He played a great game.”
Notes: Brown and fellow Kings players Derek Armstrong, Kyle Calder, Derek Armstrong and Denis Gauthier, will appear as contestants on next Wednesday’s airing of “The Price Is Right.” … Cammalleri has four goals and eight assists in his first 11 games with Calgary. In his first 11 last season with the Kings, he had 10 goals and three assists. … Kings C Denis Gauthier, who spent seven seasons with the Flames, played against them for the first time since he was traded to Phoenix in August 2004. … Calgary killed 25 of 26 power plays over the previous six games.