CALGARY - Chalk Round 1 up to brother Darryl.
If you looked closely enough Saturday night after the Los Angeles Kings’ 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome, you might even have seen a rare smile flash across the intense Darryl Sutter’s face.
In the battle of Alberta’s First Hockey Family, it was the elder Darryl who walked away victorious over brother Brent — maybe even a little satisfied after being asked to resign from his post in Calgary a little more than a year ago.
Not that he’d admit it.
“Non-factor,” Darryl said of the Sutter vs. Sutter angle afterward. “You guys keep talking about it.
“That stuff really doesn’t mean much to me.”
He did suggest he’d give the game puck to his son, Chris, if he could find him.
Although Darryl turned the franchise into a Cup contender in 2004 and playoff possibility for most of the rest of his tenure, the crowd didn’t show him any love. They chanted his name in the first period, but it wasn’t one of those supportive or heroic ones — it was the taunt typically reserved for the opposing goaltender.
They didn’t have a chance to do that to Jonathan Quick, who was stellar between the pipes for the Kings, especially in the opening period when the Flames actually still had a realistic shot at winning.
And when he wasn’t getting a glove, blocker or pad on the puck, the post and crossbar bailed him out a couple of times.
“He was good tonight, made some real good saves,” said Mikael Backlund, who rang one off the iron himself in the first period. “If he would have had a worse night, we probably would have won.”
While Mike Richards, Matt Greene and Anze Kopitar piled up a three-goal lead in the second period, only newcomer Michael Cammalleri was able to beat Quick, tipping in Anton Babchuk’s blast from the point to cut the lead to 3-1.
“It was fun to be back, but it would have been nice to get the win,” Cammalleri said following his debut after being traded back to the Flames two nights earlier. “It doesn’t feel as good with a loss.”
Cammalleri is clearly already a fan favourite once again. He was cheered loudly when announced in the starting lineup. His name was chanted right off the drop of puck on the opening faceoff.
“I thought he played well,” said Flames captain Jarome Iginla, who spent some time reunited with his former linemate.
“He got a big goal for us to give us a chance to get back into it. I imagine those are hard days (after the trade). It’s been such a whirlwind, a lot of guys get burned out. But he played hard.
“It was nice to see him get his first and get it at home. I’m sure he’s gonna get many, many more.”
As for Brent, he’ll get a few more cracks to even things up with Darryl — the first coming Thursday in Los Angeles.
“I said this this morning — you guys make more of a deal about it than myself or Darryl does,” Brent said from the podium post-game.
“His job is to coach the L.A. Kings, and my job is to coach the Calgary Flames.
“I’m disappointed we lost the hockey game.”
His players are disappointed they didn’t win it for him.
“Absolutely,” admitted Iginla. “First of all, to get (the win) and climb closer to (the Kings in the standings), but also for our coach — being brothers, bragging rights.
“For our fans, too. They wanted to beat L.A. but also to beat Darryl. That’s sports.”