In recent years, the sight of the Calgary Flames has not been a pretty one for the Kings.
Entering Monday, the Kings had defeated the Flames just once in their past 12 meetings, and they seemingly faced long odds in ending that skid, considering that Calgary has been rolling of late, particularly on the road.
The Kings, though, gritted out a playoff-type win, as they had a season-low 16 shots on goal but played with poise in the third period and held on for a 2-1 victory over the Flames before 13,853 at STAPLES Center.
The victory was the Kings’ first over Calgary since Feb. 15, 2008, and helped avenge a 5-2 loss on Nov. 21, an ugly loss, the particulars of which the Kings managed to flip.
In that game, the Kings took a 2-1 lead four minutes into the second period, then allowed four consecutive goals. This time, the Kings took a 2-1 lead early in the second period and held it for the final 35 minutes, 26 seconds of the game.
In the first Calgary game, the Kings went 0 for 3 on the power play and 5 for 7 on the penalty kill. This time, they were 1 for 3 on the power play and 4-4 on the penalty kill.
``I just think we battled better tonight,’’ defenseman Rob Scuderi said. ``If I remember correctly, it was a pretty close game, and when they started to pull away, we didn't have any fight left in us to push back a little bit.
``I thought tonight, even though they were carrying the play for large portions of time, I thought each time we answered with a little bit of our own.’’
The lead held up largely because of the play of goalie Jonathan Quick, who made 26 saves and held up particularly well in the third period, when the Flames outshot the Kings 13-4 and had excellent opportunities on two third-period power plays.
``He was good,’’ Kings coach Terry Murray said of Quick. ``They're that type of team that, they put a lot of pucks to the net, a lot of traffic. They're big. They're strong on their sticks, and as you saw several times, they're jamming away, trying to bulldoze the puck into the net.
``That's where we've talked in the past with Quick, that he's a thick guy himself and he can hold his own at the top of the crease. That's the kind of goaltending that you have to have against probably the best team, right now, in the NHL.’’
The Kings didn’t get a lot of shots or scoring opportunities, and the scoring droughts of Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Teddy Purcell continued, but the Kings continued their run of getting timely secondary scoring, this time from Stoll and Scott Parse.
``It's huge,’’ Stoll said. ``We know we haven't been playing our best lately, but we've been getting wins. If you're winning games and you're getting points, you can't be disappointed about any of that stuff. we've just got to keep racking up points at this stage of the year. They're very important, especially against a team like that.
``They're hard to play against. They're heavy, they're playing well and they don't lose very many games on the road. That was a big effort from our team. We knew it was going to take everybody, and be a hard game. Quickie was great again. Our penalty killing was great. Our power play was great. I think that was pretty much the key right there.’’
The Kings didn’t record their first shot on goal until the seventh minute of the game, but unlike the first Calgary game – in which the Flames scored 13 seconds into the game – the Kings took the lead in the first period.
At the end of a dreadful power play, the Kings scored a nice burst by Parse. Parse got around Adam Pardy, went to the net and kept control of the puck under pressure from Aaron Johnson as he pulled the puck around goalie Miikka Kiprusoff and scored at the 8:54 mark, two seconds after the end of the power play.
``That's a pretty special skill play,’’ Murray said. ``The confidence, the poise, to hold the puck and taking it to the net like that, it's pretty courageous. On the other side, that penalty he took late in the game is something we'll have to talk about later.’’
Calgary tied the game late in the first period. Curtis Glencross controlled the puck in the slot, was able to fend off Jack Johnson and nice flicked a backhand shot past Quick to tie the game with 4:21 left in the first period.
The Kings got the lead back early in the second period, one minute into an outstanding power play, one full of shots and puck control. Stoll found open space in front of the net, took a pass from Justin Williams and scored at the 4:34 mark.
``That was as good as it gets, I think, on the power play, as far as a shot mentality,’’ Murray said. ``We want to try to build on that one, for sure. But it does give you good momentum. There's no question. You get momentum for yourself, and you get some of their key players on the ice for that pretty extended penalty kill, and that takes a toll over the long haul too.’’
Scuderi returned, after missing the previous nine games with a sprained ankle, and played 18 minutes, 29 seconds with an even rating.
``At the end, he was big,’’ Murray said of Scuderi. ``He's got such great range. He skates and his stick is tremendous, to recapture pucks, to poke pucks, and he's smart. He made good plays out there when they had the goalie out, just making sure that it was cleared with strong plays.’’
The Kings have earned points in five straight games (4-0-1) ...The Kings broke a five-game losing streak to Calgary…Last win was Feb. 15, 2008 ...The Kings are 14-3-3 when scoring first and 12-0-0 when leading after two periods ...The Kings 39 points is tied for the fifth best 31-game start (1999-00 and 1990-91 clubs also had 39 pts) ...Scott Parse has points in six of his last seven games (3-4=7) ... Jarret Stoll has points in four straight (2-3=5) and has 17 points in his last 19 games (9-8=17) ... Stoll was 10-for-12 on faceoffs tonight He is 101-for-168 on faceoffs in his last 11 games (60 percent) ... Dustin Brown has assists in three of the last four games ... Justin Williams has five points in the last four games (3-2=5) ... Randy Jones has four points in the last four games (2-2=4)
1 - 0 LAK
1 - 1 Tie