NHL·Recap

Backlund leads Flames to easy victory over Kings

Mikael Backlund had two goals and an assist to lead the Calgary Flames to a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Friday. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan also scored for the Flames (15-9-2), who sit atop the Pacific Division standings with 32 points, one ahead of the Anaheim Ducks (13-10-5).

Calgary centre scores twice in 4-1 win

Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund, centre, celebrates with defencemen TJ Brodie (7) and Mark Giordano (5) his empty net goal against the Los Angeles Kings on Friday. (Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press)

Johnny Gaudreau didn't let frustration get the better of him on Friday.

After ringing a shot off the crossbar and hitting a pair of posts earlier in the game, Gaudreau scored the eventual game-winner on the power play at 7:44 of the third period as his Calgary Flames went on to beat the visiting Los Angeles Kings 4-1.

"After hitting that many posts, crossbars, I think they'd be frustrated as well," said Gaudreau, who backhanded a pass from linemate Elias Lindholm past Kings defenceman Drew Doughty and goalie Calvin Petersen. "It was just nice to finally put one in there.

"If I was going to get one, it was going to be a greasy one like that. It was good to get the lead there, on the power play too. We worked on it a little bit in practice the other day."

Mikael Backlund had two goals and an assist for the Calgary Flames (15-9-2), who sit atop the Pacific Division standings with 32 points, one ahead of the Anaheim Ducks (13-10-5).

Sean Monahan also scored, while Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm had two assists each. Backlund and Monahan both scored empty-net goals in the final minute of the game to seal the victory for the Flames.

Watch highlights of Calgary's win over Los Angeles:

Calgary defeats Los Angeles 4-1, Mikael Backlund 2 goals and 1 assist. 1:58

Goalie Mike Smith made 13 saves to record his second straight win and improve his record to 7-7-1.

"It was a pretty boring game to be honest," Smith said. "But saying that, that can lead to some inconsistencies in your game and I thought our guys did a really good job of sticking with it.

"We were skating and getting the puck in the offensive zone and wearing them out on the second of back-to-backs. Great composure by our group to stick with it. It was a weird game and we found a way to win."

Adrian Kempe scored the lone goal for the Kings (9-16-1), who lost their second straight game after dropping a 3-2 road decision to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.

"We knew that was going to be a bit of a challenge," said L.A. coach Willie Desjardins in regards to playing on back-to-back nights.

"I thought we had a good first period, though. I thought our guys skated well. We didn't hit the net, so we didn't get the shots, but we had some good chances.

After giving up an early goal, Petersen settled in and finished with 33 saves.

"For a young player, he's been really quite remarkable to come in with his composure," Desjardins said. "He gives up that early one which could throw anybody off their game. It didn't. He stayed with it and was solid throughout the game."

Calgary opened the scoring 36 seconds into the first period when Backlund let a harmless-looking shot go from the top of the faceoff circle that beat Petersen over his left pad.

Although the Flames outshot Los Angeles 9-4 in the opening 20 minutes, they weren't able to get any more pucks past Petersen, who slid across his crease to deny another scoring opportunity by Backlund with 1:24 remaining before the first intermission.

Gaudreau nearly put the Flames up 2-0 during an early power-play chance in the second period, but his shot from the slot rang off the crossbar behind Petersen.

The Kings pulled even at 13:41 of the second on a goal by Kempe, who one-timed Austin Wagner's pass from behind the net past Smith.

Gaudreau had another great chance to score late in the period when he made a couple moves behind the net before his wraparound attempt went along the goal line and off the far post.

"He was shimmy-shaking back there a little bit," Petersen said. "It was hard to keep track of. You see something like that and hopefully you kind of holster it for the next time he tries it."

Gaudreau then rang another puck off the post early in the third before finally solving Petersen.

"I don't think it should've been a 1-1 game going into the third there with so many chances and we couldn't find the net," Gaudreau said. "It was nice to get rewarded there in the third."

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