Michael Cammalleri has done his best to keep his Calgary Flames teammates going in the right direction despite a youthful roster and a host of injuries.
On Saturday night, he was in the right spot at just the right time.
Cammalleri scored his 10th goal of the season with 23 seconds remaining, and the Flames pulled out a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.
Eight of Calgary’s nine wins have been by one goal, including shootout victories over Winnipeg and Florida.
"The wins haven’t been as frequent for us as we would have liked, for sure," said Cammalleri, the first Calgary player to reach double digits in goals.
"We have a lot of respect for a good opponent across the hall, knowing that they’re comfortable knowing how to win those types of games. We’re still learning how, so this feels good. It was a special weekend for us because we had our dads here with us."
Cammalleri beat Ben Scrivens with a short backhander from the edge of the crease after getting the puck from Mikael Backlund.
The veteran center spent his first five NHL seasons with Los Angeles.
"Cammalleri is a killer. Every game that he plays is like a home game for him," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said.
Blair Jones had a short-handed goal during a 5-minute penalty kill in the second period for Calgary.
Karri Ramo made five of his 21 saves during the Kings’ long power play, helping the Flames end the Kings’ club-record streak of 11 consecutive games in which they gained at least one point in the standings.
Ramo was 4 minutes away from his first NHL shutout when Justin Williams tied it with his 200th regular-season goal.
He played a carom off the right boards in the neutral zone after a clearing pass by defenseman Jake Muzzin, then carried the puck into the Flames’ zone and took a 40-foot wrist shot that glanced off defenseman Shane O’Brien’s stick and over Ramo’s right shoulder.
"Sometimes when a team ties it up late in the game like that and you counter with quick momentum, it almost catches them by surprise because they expect the momentum to come their way," Cammalleri said.
"We tried to keep aggressive and stay after it and keep making plays, and Backs made a good play to find me in front of the net."
Calgary defenseman Ladislav Smid received a boarding major and automatic game misconduct at 14:26 of the second period for shoving Dwight King face-first into the glass deep in the Calgary zone as the Kings forward tried to beat Cammalleri to a loose puck.
King went to the bench with a cut near his right eye, and his teammates suddenly had their 5-minute power play.
But it backfired on the Kings, as the Flames responded with their fifth short-handed goal of the season.
"The funny thing is, when they got that five-minute major, we went to the bench and said: `Hey, boys, we’re going to come out of this one-nothing.’" Cammalleri said.
"You get that feeling sometimes, because sometimes a team gets a five-minute power play and gets a little lackadaisical."
Calgary defenseman TJ Brodie tried to slap the puck out of his zone and partially fanned on it, but it had enough momentum to slide into the Kings’ end and Scrivens fell down chasing it to his left.
Paul Byron took possession behind the net and passed it out to Jones as he was knocked down from behind by defenseman Drew Doughty.
"I spent a lot of time playing the penalty kill down in Abbottsford (of the AHL). So once I got on the ice, I had to seize the opportunity," Byron said.
"I just jumped on the ice for a change and saw that he slipped, so I put pressure on them and saw Jones out of the corner of my eye. I slipped it to him and he put it in the back of the net."
Scrivens, who stopped 18 shots, was 5-0-3 with a 1.34 goals-against average and two shutouts in his previous eight starts. But the disappointment of that goal stung him.
"Stuff happens. It is a game on ice," Scrivens said. "I was trying to get out there, play the puck and help the defensemen out. That was my plan, but I had an unfortunate break catching an edge and they were fortunate enough to capitalize on it."
NOTES: Anze Kopitar also got an assist on Williams’ goal — his 500th NHL point. . . . Los Angeles is 0 for 18 on the power play over its past five games. . . . The Flames, who scored three power-play goals against the Kings in a 3-2 win at Los Angeles on Oct. 21, are just 4 for 50 in 18 games since then. . . . The Kings’ penalty-killing unit has stopped 41 of the past 44 power plays. . . . The Flames were 4-8-2 in November, and this was their only victory in regulation.