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Kings Ice Flames 2-1

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The Kings always seem to have problems with the Calgary Flames losing six of their last ten showdowns at STAPLES Center. On this night however, the Kings reversed that trend in their 2-1 win.

“They’re always a tough team to play against,” head coach Terry Murray said. “They got some real top guys in the league.”

Despite that, the Kings put together a consistent 60 minutes on the ice dominating the game even though the score didn’t indicate it.

“In my three years here, tonight was the best 60 minutes we played against that team,” Drew Doughty said. “In that 60 minutes I thought we were pretty stellar the entire time except for maybe that last five minutes when they got that goal.”

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The Flames blue line was dim at best allowing the Kings to make 11 shots-on-goal in each of the first two periods, something unheard of by the Kings in recent weeks. Despite that the Kings only led the game 1-0, the only score was a Kyle Clifford deflection on a Wayne Simmonds shot attempt from the bottom of the left circle 12:08 in the first period - the first NHL goal in Clifford’s career.

“It was an ugly goal,” Clifford said. “Hopefully they don’t have video of it so I can describe it a little better.”

As for the puck itself he had it stashed away in his locker during postgame.

“I’m going to send it back home to my parent,” Clifford said of his plans for the puck. “It’s a cheap Christmas present.”

“That’s pretty cheap,” Murray said of Clifford’s plans.

As for the goal itself, Murray was very proud of the play.

“You’re throwing pucks to the net from angles, and you’re hoping something good is going to happen,” Murray said. “And it did.”

Later in the period, Clifford got the second notch of his Gordie Howe hat trick attempt duking it out with Tim Jackman which ended with Clifford being DDT-ed onto the ice.

The Kings got an insurance goal by Anze Kopitar 5:10 in the third period on a power-play. After five power-plays that generated only two shots and facing a team that was 23rd in the NHL in penalty killing, something had to give.

“It was nice,” Kopitar said about capitalizing on the power-play. “It wasn’t the prettiest one, but we’ll take it.”

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Now that we’ve taken the good, it’s time to take the bad: on their unlucky 13th home game of the season the Kings finally gave up a power-play goal when Rob Scuderi allowed Olli Jokinen to get in position to put through Anton Babchuk’s shot at 16:39 that sat on the crease behind goalie Jonathan Quick.

So there you have the facts of life.

Doughty was shown the facts of life when Rene Bourque performed a cup-check on him with his stick in the final seconds of the game. While Bourque was assessed a slashing penalty, Murray didn’t think it will be reviewed by the league.

“Unless there’s a report filed afterwards by a referee I don’t think there will be anything further,” Murray said.

When told that Doughty said he couldn’t breathe afterwards, Murray merely replied, “That’s what happens when you get speared below the belt- it takes your breath away.”

Brad Richardson left the game in the first period with an upper body injury. No word on the extent of the injury.

The Kings wrap up their homestand with a game against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday before heading out on a five-game, eight-day road trip.


LA Lakers (16-6) at Chicago Bulls (12-8). 5:00 p.m. KCAL9, ESPN (National), AM 710 KSPN.

Calgary Flames (26 pts., 12-15-2) at Anaheim Ducks (32 pts., 14-13-4). 7:00 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 830 KLAA.