Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Hockey

Clifford scores, Kings hold off Flames 2-1

Kyle Clifford scored his first NHL goal, Jonathan Quick made 26 saves, and the Los Angeles Kings hung on late for a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.

Anze Kopitar scored a power-play goal for the Kings, who have won three straight after losing seven of eight in a skid that sent them cascading down from the top of the Western Conference standings.

Olli Jokinen broke up Quick's shutout bid on a power-play goal with 3:21 to play, also ending Los Angeles' streak of 45 straight penalty-kills at home from the start of the season.

Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 30 shots for the struggling Flames, who have alternated wins and losses in the past nine games. Calgary hasn't won two straight games since late October.

But the Flames had won 14 of 17 meetings with the Kings, including a 3-1 home victory in October. Los Angeles won 11 of its next 13 games, moving to the top of the NHL standings before losing its grip.

The Kings returned from a four-day break with a grinding performance against the Flames, who thought they had scored a few minutes into the first period during a goal-mouth scramble. The officials' call on the ice was overturned after a lengthy video review in Toronto determined Matt Stajan had kicked in the puck with his right leg.

The Kings scored later in the period when Wayne Simmonds' pass to the front of the net was deflected home by Clifford, the 19-year-old forward picked in the second round of last year's draft. Clifford surprisingly made the Kings' roster as a high-energy player, but didn't score a goal until his 22nd NHL game.

After a scoreless second period, Kopitar connected early in the third when Jack Johnson's shot from the point deflected to him for his 11th goal — the third in three games for Los Angeles' high-scoring Slovenian forward.

Clifford was in the penalty box when the Flames finally scored. Anton Babchuk's shot from the point squirted through captain Jarome Iginla's screen and trickled behind Quick, where Jokinen slapped it home for his third goal.

After 12 straight home games of perfect penalty-killing, Los Angeles fell just short of becoming the first team to avoid allowing a power-play goal in 13 consecutive home games since Colorado did it in 2001-02.

NOTES: LW Alexei Ponikarovsky returned to the Kings' lineup after a 12-game absence with a broken finger. ... A few minutes after his goal, Clifford fought Calgary's Tim Jackman. ... Kings C Brad Richardson skated slowly to the bench in the first period after an unspecified upper body injury.