Flames plead the fifth in L.A.

STEVE MACFARLANE, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 7:13 AM ET

LOS ANGELES -- The collision between Dustin Boyd and Matthew Lombardi in the third period was just one example of how out of sync the Calgary Flames seemed at times last night.

Twice giving up two-goal leads as they looked to lock up the lead in the Northwest Division, the Flames left their goaltender hanging too often.

Somehow, though, they pulled off a fifth straight victory with a 6-4 decision over the Los Angeles Kings.

Giving up three consecutive scores in the third period isn't exactly a recipe for success, but a comeback of their own has them sitting at the top of the division standings thanks to some great saves by Miikka Kiprusoff and late goals from Daymond Langkow and Kristian Huselius.

Both Flames had two-tally nights, with Huselius salting the win with an empty-netter in the final minute.

"I think we thought it was going to be easy," said Langkow, who scored the winner on the powerplay with 5:05 to play after his team grabbed 2-0 and 3-1 leads before the final 20 minutes.

"They slowly built the momentum up. By the third period, we were having trouble getting out of our own end."

The result was a tie game after goals from Brad Stuart and Ladislav Nagy.

"I think the whole game we made it harder for ourselves than it needed to be," said Flames defenceman Anders Eriksson, one of the team's best players on the odd night.

"It was interesting."

With some clutch saves in every period, Kiprusoff helped the club keep its composure.

Even when Anze Kopitar gave the Kings their first lead of the night on the first half of a 5-on-3 advantage in the final frame, the Flames didn't hang their heads -- or lose them.

"They were all over us. They outplayed us," said Langkow. "We finally woke up there and started moving our feet there. We drew a couple of penalties and capitalized on the powerplay."

Huselius tied it up with the team's second score on the man-advantage, and Langkow deposited his second of the night -- also on the powerplay -- a few minutes later.

Jarome Iginla said killing the second half of the two-man Kings advantage while Cory Sarich served a four-minute penalty for a high stick that cut Kyle Calder and was pointed out to officials by a linesman was one of the highs of the rollercoaster ride.

"I thought our killers did a great job at that point, for morale, to still give us a chance," said Iginla, who had a goal and two assists.

"They get another one there, it doesn't feel very good on our bench.

"It feels good because it was definitely a rollercoaster of emotion through the whole game.

"It feels good now."

Robyn Regehr and Langkow got the Flames off on the right foot early in the opening period, scoring a minute apart to open with a two-goal cushion.

The Kings finally caught a break in the second period.

Or perhaps catching Kiprusoff behind the net is a better description.

The goalie waited for a slow-moving puck in the legal zone behind the goal-line and was about to send a no-look backhand around the boards when Alexander Frolov snatched it away and potted a wraparound goal to cut the Flames lead to 2-1.

He probably should have been warned of the sneaky Russian's presence in his back pocket, but the result was new life for a home team that had, up to that point, been held pointless despite a number of strong scoring chances.

Payback was forthcoming though, as Kiprusoff bailed out his teammates with 11 saves in the second stanza, while the Kings pressed for an equalizer.

Ultimately, though, the Flames kept their hopes of a division title alive.

"It's good. But it's so close, too. In the division, everyone's so close to each other," said Kiprusoff.

"It's good to be there but if we want to keep that spot we have to keep winning."


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