CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Jiri Hudler had a pair of beautiful setups Monday night as the Calgary Flames scored twice in the first period and then hung on for a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.
Curtis Glencross and Markus Granlund had the goals for Calgary. The Flames have won three in a row since a seven-game losing streak.
Calgary pulled even with Los Angeles, San Jose and Vancouver in the Pacific Division. However, the Kings hold a game in hand, San Jose has two in hand and the Canucks have four.
Tyler Toffoli scored for Los Angeles, which began a three-game road trip through Western Canada that continues Tuesday night in Edmonton.
With the teams meeting for the second time in a week, Calgary took a 1-0 lead at 12:13 of the first period on the eighth goal of the season for Glencross, who was set up on a slick play by Hudler.
Carrying the puck with speed into the Kings end, Hudler curled sharply toward the sideboards, drawing lone defenseman Jake Muzzin toward him. With the middle of the ice now opened up, Hudler then slid a perfect pass to Glencross racing in all alone and he wristed a shot into the top corner past Jonathan Quick.
The Flames made it 2-0 just more than a minute later on another pretty goal involving Hudler.
Skating up the wing, Johnny Gaudreau made a nice play to evade defenseman Matt Greene at the Los Angeles blue line, then drew the Kings’ other defenseman, Alec Martinez, to the ice before saucering a pass across to Hudler. The instant the puck landed on Hudler’s stick, he sent a touch pass back into the slot and with Quick fooled and caught way out of position, Granlund had an empty net to fire in his fifth goal of the season.
Hudler’s two assists gave him 36 points (13 goals, 23 assists). He moved ahead of Mark Giordano for the team scoring lead.
Trailing 2-0, the Kings got a goal in the final minute of the second period. Toffoli got behind the Flames’ top defense pairing of Giordano and TJ Brodie, was fed a perfect pass by Dustin Brown, and in alone on Jonas Hiller showed terrific hands in zipping a perfect backhander under the crossbar.
Toffoli had another great chance from the side of the net with less than 10 seconds to go in the second but was robbed by Hiller, who jabbed out his pad to deny the Kings’ leading scorer.
Hiller also robbed Dwight King at the buzzer in the third period and finished with 26 saves to improve to 12-10-2. After giving up two or more goals in 15 straight starts, the Swiss goalie has allowed two goals total in his last two games.
Quick had 13 stops in falling to 15-9-6.
NOTES: Los Angeles forward Marian Gaborik (flu-like symptoms) did not play. He is on a six-game scoring streak. Taking his spot was Jordan Nolan, a healthy scratch the past eight games. … On defense for the Kings, Jeff Schultz made his season debut in place of Brayden McNabb. … Flames center Mikael Backlund is getting closer to returning. He practiced with the team in a non-contact jersey. He’s missed 27 games since having abdominal surgery.
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