Here’s what we learned:
The rivalry is up to speed. It took until the third period for it to fully bloom, but it unfolded unsurprisingly. Michael Frolik hit Drew Doughty against the boards, which sparked the first of several late scrums. Doughty and Matthew Tkachuk hurled invective at each other from the penalty box.
The backdrop to this is Tkachuk’s illegal hit to Doughty last season.
“It’s an emotional game,” Anze Kopitar said. “Especially in our division, we want to stand our ground and there’s some pushback that needs to happen, and it did.”
Kopitar and Brown are off and running. Major talking points from last season were how Kopitar was going to improve and how Dustin Brown was going to get back to his early-career bulldozing style.
Both are on terrific paths through three games. Brown got back to being a net-front player with his two deflections. Kopitar created and chased the puck well all night. He beat a Flame to the puck to set up Brown’s second goal.
“I think he’s excited getting his game back on track,” Kings Coach John Stevens said of Brown. “I think he’s earned the right to play a lot of key situations. He and Kopi have had a long history of being good together and they’ve been great together all training camp.”
Jonathan Quick is human. Quick allowed one goal in the first two games, on a deflection. He couldn’t be blamed for a power-play goal or a defensive breakdown for Calgary’s first two goals Wednesday, but the game-tying goal to Tkachuk was his first soft goal of the season.
Tkachuk scored in transition with a wrist shot underneath Quick, although Brown said the goal began before that.
“We can’t give that guy a turnover just outside of our zone,” Brown said. “If we put it in behind him, make him come 200 feet, I like our chances. He’s a very good player, off transitions and off turnovers.”