A trip through Alberta has turned around the season for Los Angeles winger Trevor Lewis.
Lewis’ first goal of the season was the game winner Wednesday night as the Kings swept back-to-back games in the province with a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames.
The 26-year-old showed great poise on his goal at 15:20 into the first period, which came 29 seconds after Calgary tied 1-1. Lewis collected a rebound at the side of the night, paused briefly to control the puck, then zipped a shot into the top corner over the shoulder of Flames goaltender Joey MacDonald.
“The puck was bouncing so I had to wait for it to settle and I just fired it,” said Lewis, who scored for the first time in 31 games. “I didn’t see it go in, I thought actually (Mike) Richards touched it, so I didn’t get as good of a celebration as I would have liked, but it still feels great to get the goose egg off.”
Lewis had gone 13 games without a point before picking up two assists Tuesday night in the Kings’ 3-1 win over Edmonton.
“To get a chance to play with Richards or (Jeff) Carter, you pretty much just have to get them the puck and get open, and good things will happen,” Lewis said.
It would be all the offence Jonathan Bernier would need. With Jonathan Quick getting the night off, the Kings’ backup goalie made 26 stops to improve to 3-1-0.
Dustin Brown and Carter also scored for Los Angeles (7-6-2). The defending Stanley Cup champions wrap up a gruelling stretch in which they played eight-of-nine games on the road.
T.J. Brodie scored the lone goal for Calgary (5-7-3). The Flames have two days off before returning to action Saturday against Minnesota.
Jarome Iginla led the Flames with a season-high nine shots.
“Overall, it hasn’t been good enough,” said Iginla of his team’s 2-5-2 mark at the Scotiabank Saddledome. “Usually you’re talking about ways to win on the road but you definitely have to find ways to win at home to move in the standings and not to slide.”
The Flames captain did make a nice set-up on Brodie’s tying goal at 14:51 of the first, finding him sneaking in from the blue-line where he wove through the slot and put a shot inside the goal post.
Los Angeles added an insurance goal halfway through the third period when Richards wheeled out of the corner and found Carter in the slot for his team-leading eighth goal, all coming in the past 13 games.
With Miikka Kiprusoff (knee) missing his eighth game, MacDonald made his second start and first at home since being claimed off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings. He had 30 saves in seeing his record fall to 1-2-0.
He also got bowled over by Lewis in the early second period. The play resulted in a goaltender interference call on Lewis but not much show of emotion from the Flames, which disappointed coach Bob Hartley.
“Joey MacDonald gave us a great game, but the bottom line is we have to be a grittier team. It’s as simple as this. We need to be in people’s face. They ran our goalie. There was no consequences to this, and that’s just not acceptable,” said Hartley.
Calgary is averaging 8.9 penalty minutes per game, which is lowest in the league. Alex Tanguay leads the team with 14 penalty minutes.
“We might not have the biggest team, but when you play as a team, you have to stick up for your teammates,” Hartley added. “And if it means you need to take a slap for the entire team or whether we go five guys, I think team unity is very important. We have a great group of guys, but we’re just not playing tough enough.”
Los Angeles was playing its second game in as many nights but didn’t look tired as it went on the attack from the opening faceoff. When Brown fired a shot into the top corner at 6:15, giving the Kings a 1-0 lead, the visitors were up 7-1 on the shot clock.
“Now that we’re a good portion into the season, most of the league has their legs under them and I’m not sure it’s as big of a grind as it would be in an 82-game schedule,” said 34-year-old Kings defenceman Rob Scuderi, who had a pair of assists. “I think guys are fresh. Everybody realizes the importance of every single game now and that trumps the tired feeling in your legs.”
Notes: Calgary entered the night with the NHL’s third-ranked power play, but it was unable to capitalize on four opportunities including a chance at the start of the third period that failed to produce a shot. ... Iginla has one goal in 15 games this year and two in last 25 dating back to last season. ... Iginla’s assist was career point No. 1083, moving him to within five points of Theoren Fleury for 59th on the NHL’s all-time list. ... Scuderi’s two assists matched his career high for points in a game. The veteran of 552 career games had two points four previous times. ... The Flames are 1-2-1 when playing against a team playing the second of back-to-back games. ... The Kings play 13 of their next 16 games at home.