CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — On a night when Calgary honored Canadian Olympians in a pregame ceremony, a pair of Team USA players were the big stars.
Dustin Brown had a goal and an assist and Jonathan Quick made 25 saves as the Los Angeles Kings made it back-to-back wins Thursday night with a 2-0 victory over the Calgary Flames. Brown and Quick were part of the U.S. Olympic team that lost the bronze medal hockey game to Finland.
"They had a good Olympics, too," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "They make a big deal of it in the (United) States because they don't win a medal, but these guys all got to go and represent their country and the way they did it, especially our guys, they did an awesome job so they came back in a good frame of mind."
Quick was steady all night in earning his third shutout of the season and 29th of his career. He was especially sharp through the opening 40 minutes as Calgary built a 23-13 edge in shots, but trailed 1-0.
"The first star of the game was Jonathan, no doubt about it," said former Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr. "He was very solid, even though we were on our heels a little bit. He made the saves that we really needed him too."
After scoring the first goal three minutes into the game, Brown helped the Kings get an important insurance goal, setting up Dwight King in front of the net 3:30 into the third period. King neatly slipped away from Flames defenseman Mark Giordano and was set up at the top of the crease by Brown.
Brown opened the scoring three minutes into the game, then helped the Kings get an important insurance goal, setting up Dwight King 3:30 into the third period. In the final 20 minutes, the Kings got back to their usual stifling defense, outshooting the Flames 11-2 to secure the victory.
"It was a great, great third period, exactly what we were looking for," said Quick, who improved to 17-13-2. "It was a solid, road period where you don't give up much and you make them work to gain zones. And scoring a goal at the beginning of the period was huge to give us a little bit more of a gap."
Los Angeles (33-22-6) has won three in a row, including its first two games after the Olympic break. They opened their short two-game road trip with a 6-4 victory in Colorado on Wednesday night. In third place in the Pacific Division, the victory increased the Kings' lead over the Vancouver Canucks to seven points.
Calgary (22-30-7), which went into the break on a 6-1-1 tear, lost for the first time at home in six weeks. The Flames had won their last five games at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
"First two periods, I definitely thought we were the better team," said Flames captain Mark Giordano, while adding that Quick was the difference. "He made some great saves. He fought through some screens and tips. There's nothing you can do. He was playing well, our guys were going to the net, our guys were fighting. But we couldn't find a way to get that one."
The story line for the Flames was the NHL debut of two of their top prospects. Making his NHL debut in net was Joni Ortio, who was called up from the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League when fellow Finn Karri Ramo went down with a knee injury on Feb. 1. Ortio backed up Reto Berra for the final three games before the Olympic break. Ortio had 22 stops.
The 22-year-old had been playing excellent hockey with the Heat where he had compiled a 20-6-0 record with a 2.22 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.
"I felt good, but I can't be totally satisfied, of course," Ortio said, "because it's always my goal to beat the goalie at the other end and that didn't happen tonight."
In addition to Ortio, also making his NHL debut was 20-year-old Markus Granlund, Calgary's second-round pick in the 2011 draft.
Granlund logged 7:14 in ice time, centering the Flames' fourth line with Paul Byron and rugged Kevin Westgarth. In his limited time, the younger brother of Minnesota's Mikeal Granlund looked impressive registering two shots on goal. As a rookie in the AHL, he is tied for fourth in the league in goals with 23 in 50 games.
The Flames were playing their first game in 19 days and the rust showed early. On his second shift, defenseman steady Kris Russell bobbled the puck deep in his own end with it being promptly intercepted by Brown who darted to the net and stuffed a backhand behind Ortio.
"I think our mistakes got magnified tonight because their goalie didn't give up one," Giordano said.