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Kings Take Flight After Being Grounded : L.A. Overcomes Snafu at Airport to End Calgary's Victory Streak, 6-3

December 21, 1987|JERRY CROWE | Times Staff Writer

CALGARY, Canada — The Kings had more trouble getting to Calgary Sunday than they had in scoring an improbable victory over the Flames Sunday night at the Olympic Saddledome.

Their 7:50 a.m. flight from LAX was delayed more than 2 1/2 hours, and several players had their baggage misplaced by the airline.

By the time they checked into their downtown hotel, it was less than three hours before the start of the game.

But, after a few players went straight from the airport to the Saddledome and others all but inhaled a hurried team meal, the Kings ended the Flames' four-game winning streak with a 6-3 victory before a crowd of 18,553.

"I didn't expect anything like this," said the Kings' Jimmy Carson, who had one goal and two assists. "We played this game on Adrenalin and emotion. And maybe out of necessity."

Dave Taylor and Luc Robitaille both had one goal and two assists and Paul Fenton scored two goals for the Kings, who had won only 1 of their previous 12 road games and only 3 of their previous 17 games at the Saddledome.

In their last three games, the Kings have beaten the Smythe Division's two best teams, Edmonton and Calgary.

"I think a lot of times when you get in a predicament like we were in today, it makes you a lot looser and you just go out and play," Fenton said. "We really took it to them right from the beginning."

After beating the Kings, 4-1, Saturday night at the Forum, the Flames also had to make their way to Calgary.

But the Flames took the more expensive route, chartering a flight out of LAX late Saturday night.

That caused no small amount of grumbling among the Kings.

"Would any other team in the league have to do this?" asked one player as the Kings sat for three hours at LAX.

All that was forgotten, however, after the Kings had outscored the Flames, 3-0, in the final period.

Fenton, Steve Duchesne and Carson scored in a span of 3:56 in the final 10 minutes as the Kings converted their 30th, 31st and 32nd shots.

"We went to the net and we forced some things," Coach Robbie Ftorek said. "We were a lot more hungry and we played with a lot more intensity than we did Saturday night."

Also, Ftorek said, the Kings played with more discipline.

"We're taking away the middle of the ice," said goaltender Rollie Melanson, who faced 28 shots in winning for the first time in five weeks. "We're not letting people just walk in.

"At least I was able to see the shots from the point and was able to read the plays. Before, it was like staring down the barrel of a rifle. Everything was coming right down the middle of the slot."

The Kings, who killed five-of-seven penalties against the National Hockey League's No. 1-rated power play unit, scored twice in the first 4:37, getting goals from Fenton and Taylor to open a 2-0 lead.

Fenton scored from the right hash mark after a shot from the left point by Jay Wells bounced off Calgary's Joe Mullen, who partially fanned as he attempted to clear the puck, sending it to Fenton, who was standing in the right side of the slot.

Taylor scored a power-play goal, knocking the puck through the legs of goaltender Doug Dadswell after a goalmouth scramble.

After Joel Otto one-timed a pretty centering pass from Mullen, beating Melanson to cut the Flames' deficit to one goal, Robitaille made it 3-1 for the Kings with 3:55 left in the first period.

Robitaille took a pass from Taylor, who left the puck behind as he skated through the slot, and beat Dadswell from the left circle for his 19th goal.

All was not well with Dadswell, who reacted slowly on the play.

Dadswell was brilliant, though, in the second period, stopping 18 shots, including 7 during a wild power play midway through the period.

And the Flames caught the Kings, 3-3, on goals by rookie Joe Nieuwendyk and Mike Bullard.

The third period, though, was dominated by the Kings.

King Notes

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