<
>

Kings: Clifford scores first NHL goal for 1-0 lead

After the 1st period: Kings 1, Calgary Flames 0

The good: Kings rookie forward Kyle Clifford scored his first NHL goal midway through the opening period. It wasn’t pretty, but I’m sure he doesn’t mind. The goal came off a centering pass from Wayne Simmonds, which hit Clifford’s right skate as he charged toward the net and was redirected into the Calgary goal. One of the biggest ovations of the season came when Clifford’s goal was announced by the public-address announcer.

Clifford is also two-thirds of the way to a Gordie Howe Hat Trick, which is a goal, an assist and a fight. He dropped the gloves with Calgary winger Tim Jackman for a spirited bout with about two minutes remaining in the period.

Calgary had a goal disallowed after a wild scramble in the crease 6:20 into the game. A goal was credited on the ice, but the review officials in Toronto disallowed it, saying Calgary center Matt Stajan used a kicking motion to put the puck in the goal. Kind of a questionable call, as Stajan was buried under three Kings went the puck slid across the goal line, but Toronto owed the Kings one since Ottawa last month, when they did not overturn a game-tying goal in the final seconds.

The bad: Shortly before Clifford’s goal, fourth-line center Brad Richardson skated off the ice looking dazed. He did not return. We’ll follow up on that when we get word on the injury.

The in between: Jarret Stoll missed a wide-open net, but you have to give credit to Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who had nothing but an outstretched stick to try and make the save. He managed to get a piece of the puck and deflect it off the post.