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The Key Three: Jan. 14

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Three key aspects of the Kings’ 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames...

Getting out of the first period without trailing was a huge victory for the Kings. The Flames had won eight consecutive games at home and were riding the energy of new arrival Michael Cammalleri. Also, the first period has been, by far, the Flames best period this season. In terms of goals for and against, they’re now  plus-5 in the first period and minus-22 in the second and third periods. Thanks in large part to Jonathan Quick, the Kings kept the game at 0-0 in the first period, then scored two goals on their first four shots on the second period. The Kings, by the way, are now minus-12 in the first period and plus-13 in the second period

How much of a difference can one power-play goal make? Consider that the Kings have a 15-5-2 record this season when they score at least one power-play goal in a game. For whatever reason, the Kings seem to be playing with more confidence and urgency on the power play of late, and it’s paying off with goals. After a seven-game stretch in which they scored only one power-play goal, the Kings are now 5-for-15 with the man advantage in their last three games. Saturday’s power-play goal couldn’t have been more timely, as Anze Kopitar’s second-period goal gave the Kings a back-breaking 3-0 lead.

The Flames got some life when they scored with less than five minutes left in the second period to reduce the Kings’ lead to 3-1. The early part of the third period figured to be critical. If the Flames could get an early goal, they would have all the momentum, plus a fired-up crowd. The Kings did a very solid job, though, of managing the game in the first period. Quick was sharp to start the period, and the Kings got a bonus when Mark Giordano was called for tripping just under seven minutes into the period. The Kings were outshot in the period, but only by a margin of 7-6, and never let the period get out of control.
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