Quinton Byfield leads Kings past Flames – Orange County Register

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LOS ANGELES — The Kings will head into their short Christmas break with a win, handling the Calgary Flames 5-3 at Crypto.com Arena on Saturday.

Needing to assert itself at home against the team nearest behind them in the Pacific Division standings, the third-place Kings took the initiative, jumping ahead 61 seconds after the puck dropped.

In the Flames zone, Anze Kopitar won a draw against Elias Lindholm. Defenseman Drew Doughty fed the puck to Quinton Byfield, who struck a slap shot from straight away as Adrien Kempe screened the Calgary netminder, giving the puck a chance to sneak under Jacob Markstrom’s pads for Byfield’s ninth goal of the season.

Calgary quickly retaliated, leveling the score at the 2:47 mark off defender Rasmus Andersson’s wrist shot from the right wing. Cam Talbot was well positioned but the puck knuckled off defender Matt Roy’s left skate and found the back of the net after glancing off the top of the Kings goaltender’s glove.

It won’t count as a power play goal, but Calgary didn’t have a chance to get back to full strength as Pierre Luc-Dubois’s sixth finish came off a high tip-in at 15:20 to give them the lead heading into the first intermission.

During a two-minute power play for tripping, Kings skaters buzzed around the net, putting Markstrom under pressure until Dubois’s stick got in the way of a Jordan Spence slap shot from the blue line, redirecting the puck off the ice and into the net.

Attempting to find its winning form at home, the Kings rushed at Calgary to begin the second period.

Surviving several dangerous moments in front of their net, the Flames equalized despite being down a man at 16:48.

The goal scorer, Blake Coleman, should not have surprised anyone. No player in the NHL had scored more shorthanded goals in December for the team leading the league in that stat.

Coleman added his fourth 4:01 into the period after picking up the puck in the neutral zone when Spence dropped it off to no one in particular. Linking with Yegor Sharangovich for a two-on-one, Coleman steamrolled Talbot as he connected for the Flames’ league-best ninth shorthanded goal.

Talbot’s mask was ripped off his head and his neck twisted in a direction it wasn’t designed for, but he remained on the ice for the remainder of the game.

The Kings regained control when Doughty bounced a cross-ice pass toward the net as Alex Laferriere snuck in behind the Calgary defenders. Laferriere didn’t know much about his fifth goal of the season, which found the net off his skate.

Doughty’s second point of the game gave him 29 against the Flames in 55 games, tying for third among active defenseman with Dallas’ Ryan Suter.

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