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Kopitar scores, Jones stops 24 as Kings beat Flames 3-2 for eighth straight win

Monday, 03.10.2014 / 11:45 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Kopitar scores, Jones stops 24 as Kings beat Flames 3-2 for eighth straight win

CALGARY - Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist to lead the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Monday.

Justin Williams and Trevor Lewis also scored for the Kings (38-22-6), who have reeled off eight straight wins.

Mike Cammalleri and Brian McGrattan scored for the Flames (25-33-7), who lost for just the second time in their past nine games at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Coincidentally, it was the Kings who last beat the Flames at home on Feb. 27.

Playing in his fourth straight game, rookie Calgary goalie Joni Ortio made 20 saves in a losing cause.

Former Calgary Hitmen goalie Martin Jones stopped 24-of-26 shots he faced to improve his record in his rookie season with the Kings to 10-4.

Jones played his entire Western Hockey League career with the Hitmen, guiding them to a league championship and Memorial Cup appearance in the 2008-09 season. Never drafted by an NHL team, Jones was invited to L.A.'s training camp in 2008 and subsequently signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Kings.

With Jonathan Quick out of L.A.'s lineup due to a groin injury earlier this season, Jones was called up by the Kings and promptly won his first eight NHL starts, three of them shutout victories. He lost his next four decisions before making 25 saves in L.A.'s 6-4 road win over the Colorado Avalanche on Feb. 26.

Quick played the next five games in net for the Kings, all wins, before L.A. coach Darryl Sutter decided to give Jones the start against the Flames.

The Kings scored on their first shot on goal at 4:05 of the first when Williams redirected a pass from Anze Kopitar past Ortio. Williams drove hard to the net and attempted to get his stick on the pass from Kopitar, but the puck instead bounced off his shin and into the net behind Ortio.

The Kings then went up by a pair at the 10-minute mark of the first when Lewis tipped Slava Voynov's point shot into the top corner behind Ortio, who lost his stick on the play when his own defenceman Kris Russell accidentally knocked it out of his hands.

The Flames had a great chance to pull within one in the dying moments of the first, but Jones made a shoulder save to stop a shot fired his way by former Hitmen teammate T.J. Galiardi before sticking out his left pad to stop a backhand attempt by Brian McGrattan.

Jones also had to be sharp early in the second period as he stood his ground to turn aside back-to-back shots of the stick of Calgary forward Paul Byron.

Ortio kept Calgary in the game by making a great glove grab to thwart a short-handed scoring attempt by L.A.'s Tyler Toffoli.

With 32 seconds left in the second, Jones made a nice blocker save to stop a shot from the slot by Flames forward Joe Colborne.

Early in the third period, Jones made a shoulder save to stop Calgary forward Mikael Backlund from scoring on a partial breakaway with the Kings on a power play.

Kopitar added an insurance marker for the Kings at 7:01 of the third when he tipped Drew Doughty's point shot past Ortio.

A short time later, Jones lunged forward to stop a point blank shot by Cammalleri to keep the Flames off the scoresheet.

With Mike Richards serving a delay of game penalty, Cammalleri finally scored at 15:29 of the third to break Jones's shutout bid. Cammalleri's shot appeared to deflect off Voynov before trickling through Jones's legs.

McGrattan made things interesting by scoring with 2:22 remaining in regulation when he spun around and fired a slapshot from the slot past Jones.

Notes: Injury woes for the Flames continued as a pair of rookies were forced to leave the game. Markus Granlund played just 12 seconds early in the first period before taking a hit from L.A. forward Jarret Stoll, forcing him to leave the game with an upper-body injury. Defenceman Tyler Wotherspoon also sustained an upper-body injury in the third period and didn't return. … The Kings played without forward Jordan Nolan, who was assessed a one-game suspension for sucker punching Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Joensuu on Sunday. Tanner Pearson drew into the lineup in place of Nolan. … After being acquired by the Kings from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the NHL trade deadline last Wednesday, forward Marian Gaborik is still looking for his first point with the Kings. Gaborik played on a line with Kopitar and Williams. … The Kings improved their record when leading after two periods this season to a perfect 21-0.

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What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.

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