The Kings may have looked like helpless bystanders during the Johnny Gaudreau Show a week ago at Staples Center in an overtime loss to the Calgary Flames. This time, it was Calgary's goalie, Hiller, largely taking center stage as he stopped 26 of 27 shots in a 2-1 victory over the Kings on Monday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
This time, the unraveling of the Kings at the hands of the Flames happened in the first period as Calgary scored twice in 62 seconds on goals by Curtis Glencross and Markus Granlund on consecutive shots. Dazzling playmaker Jiri Hudler set up both goals.
Last week, the Kings' lapses occurred in the final 2 minutes 12 seconds at Staples Center, two goals by the rookie Gaudreau to erase a 3-1 Kings lead before the Flames went on to win in overtime.
In Calgary, forward Tyler Toffoli's goal on a breakaway at 19:09 of the second period ended Hiller's shutout bid. It was his team-leading 12th goal of the season, and the assists went to Dustin Brown and Trevor Lewis.
"I don't think we were prepared for the start of it," Lewis said. "They got off to a lead and we were fighting the whole rest of the game to get back in it. We've got to make sure we start on time."
Also, on Monday, the Kings were without a key offensive threat, forward Marian Gaborik, who sat out because of flu-like symptoms. Forward Jeff Carter played but was ailing too, having skipped the morning skate.
"I thought he gutted it out," Coach Darryl Sutter said of Carter. "He didn't have much in the tank. Thankful we had him in the lineup."
Defenseman Jeff Schultz made his regular-season debut for the Kings, taking the place of defenseman Brayden McNabb, who had played every game this season.
"I thought he [Schultz] played a safe game early and he got better as the game went on," Sutter said. "We were looking for a little more poise and experience on our back end. And Brayden's been struggling so we thought it was better he watched."
For those counting at home, the Kings have four road victories in 17 tries (4-8-5).
"We need to fix that. There's no excuse," defenseman Drew Doughty said.
It was a point of emphasis that the Kings defensemen combined for one shot on goal through the first two periods. Doughty said Sutter brought it up during the second intermission.
The Flames did block 26 shots, however.
"They're good at blocking shots," Doughty said. "Bottom line, if they're going to block it, we've got to make it hurt."
The last line of defense, Hiller, wasn't shabby, either.
"In the end, I take the wins, but it's always fun to play against the Kings," Hiller said.
"They've had a great team for the last few years. They play hard every night. They want to win."
When: 6:30 PST.
On the air: TV: Fox Sports West. Radio: 790.