CALGARY – Sean Monahan joined some pretty exclusive company on Wednesday night.
The 19-year-old centre scored his 21st goal and also notched the shootout winner as the red-hot Calgary Flames overcame blowing a 3-0 lead to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 for their fourth straight victory.
It’s the first time a Calgary rookie has scored 21 goals in a single season since Jarome Iginla in 1996-97.
“It’s pretty cool,” Monahan said. “Obviously, he was a big part of this team and this franchise. To be there, it’s pretty special. It’s an honour.”
Monahan already has five shootout goals on eight shots—four of them have been deciding goals, which is tied for third in the NHL. In his career, Iginla only had 10 shootout goals on 42 attempts.
“I just try and find something that’s open. I’ve had a couple of the same goals but I’ve changed it up the last couple times,” said Monahan, who put the Flames ahead after the teams were tied 1-1 after three shooters. “I’m getting more confident, I guess, in being in that situation.”
Karri Ramo clinched the victory with a stop on Mike Richards. The Flames goaltender made 41 saves in regulation, and added a huge stop in overtime as Jarret Stoll tried to jam the puck over Ramo’s outstretched pad but couldn’t despite repeated attempts.
“In the past weeks, he’s been our best player and when your goalie is the best player, I think it’s an easy thing to figure out,” said Flames head coach Bob Hartley. “He’s going to give your team lots of confidence, even though when they tied the game 3-3, no one panicked, everybody stayed in the game.”
Starting for the ninth time in the last 10 games since coming back from a knee injury, Ramo did his part in goal for Calgary, improving to 17-13-4 on the year.
Ramo had a shutout streak of over 124 minutes before the Kings finally got on the scoreboard.
“We had some tough times,” the Calgary netminder said. “We were up 3-0 and they came back pretty quickly, but I think we handled the situation pretty well.”
T.J. Galiardi and Matt Stajan also scored for Calgary (35-38-7), which has won seven of their last 10. The Flames are in 26th place but are threatening to pass a couple teams before the season ends.
It was also the Flames 49th one-goal game, which ties the 2010-11 Florida Panthers for the most in NHL history.
“We’re very optimistic, I’m unbelievably proud of my group but at the same time come next September, we’re going to still be a team that missed the playoffs in the past year and we’ll have to find a way to be better and more consistent,” said Hartley.
Stoll, Anze Kopitar and Jordan King scored for Los Angeles (45-28-7). The playoff-bound Kings, locked into third spot in the Pacific Division, are winless in four of their last five.
“The adversity coming back down from 3-0 is positive but being down 3-0 is not going to cut it. It’s a double-edged sword,” said Kings captain Dustin Brown.
The Kings tied the game 3-3 at 12:18 of the third, taking advantage of a turnover in the Flames end by Calgary’s rookie winger Bryce Van Brabant, playing in his fifth career game.
After a Van Brabant clearing attempt was intercepted at the Flames blue-line, Jake Muzzin’s shot was deflected in by King, who was screening Ramo.
“It’s just getting pucks to the net. It was a nice tip. It was a good play by our D-man to get it through,” King said. “Once you get a spark like that, things turned around for us.”
It was the 15th goal of the season for King and his third in his last four games. The left-winger had missed the previous four games with an undisclosed injury.
On the heels of eight consecutive road wins, Los Angeles has just one point to show for the first three games of a four-game road trip, which wraps up Thursday in Edmonton.
“Obviously you want to win. You want to be playing better at the start of the game. That’s something we can take from the game,” King said. “Now it’s behind us. We know what start we need to have and move forward.”
Calgary opened the scoring when Galiardi scored the lone goal of the first period at 11:58, just his fourth of the season.
Galiardi then turned playmaker, stripping the puck from Justin Williams along the sideboards and setting up Monahan to make it 2-0 four minutes into the second period.
The lead was 3-0 before the Kings struck back with goals 24 seconds apart late in the second to get back to within one.
“We had a lot of snowball games early in the year,” said Galiardi. “We’d let one in and before we knew it there would be four. We’ve gotten better at managing our emotions and coming together and sticking together when we let in a few and that’s why we’ve been handling adversity better.”
Quick only faced 18 shots. His record fell to 27-17-3 with the loss.
Notes: There were no penalties to either team in the game. For the Kings, it was the first time that had happened since Feb. 19, 1977. That had never happened for the Flames since the team moved to Calgary. … Kings defencemen Drew Doughty (shoulder) and Robyn Regehr each missed their second game as they nurse minor ailments. … Calgary’s Stajan (personal) returned after missing three games. … Flames LW Paul Byron (personal) missed his fourth game. … The Kings had won six games in a row in Calgary.