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game recap

Kopitar lifts Kings past Flames

Scores in first game back from injury

by Curtis Zupke / Correspondent

Kopitar's power-play goal

CGY@LAK: Kopitar slams it home on PP to regain lead

2/23/16: Anze Kopitar finds the puck and slams it into the back of the net, giving the Kings a 2-1 lead in the 2nd with a power-play goal

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LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings needed something extra to get by a good goalie Tuesday. Anze Kopitar provided it in his return.

Kopitar scored the go-ahead goal via the power play in the second period in his first game back from a lower-body injury to help the Kings to a 2-1 win against the Calgary Flames at Staples Center. 

"We didn't play our best game, but at this time of the year it doesn't really matter as long as you get the two points," Kopitar said. "We certainly realize there's room for improvement … we've got to continue building momentum at home and take care of business."

Kopitar, who missed the Kings' 2-1 overtime win at the Nashville Predators on Saturday, converted a pass through heavy traffic from Drew Doughty into an open net at 17:27. Defenseman Luke Schenn scored and Jonathan Quick made 22 saves for his fifth 30-win season for Los Angeles (35-20-4), which won in its first home game after a 3-3-1 trip. 

Video: CGY@LAK: Schenn wrists it home to break scoreless tie

The Kings scored four goals in their previous four games and faced a challenge in goalie Joni Ortio, who made a season-high 35 saves for Calgary (26-30-3). 

"It seems like a lot of goalies are sharp against us lately," Schenn said. "We were throwing lots of pucks on the net. A lot of goalies seem to be getting stars against us … if you have to win those 2-1 games, then that's what it takes. But it definitely would be nice to get a little bit of goal scoring, for sure."

Sean Monahan tied it 1-1 with a tap-in of a smooth passing sequence by Jiri Hudler and Johnny Gaudreau from behind the net on the power play at 11:56 of the second.

But the Flames were outshot 37-23 and swept in their Southern California trip. They have lost five of six games. Ortio did his part, particularly with a pad save on Dwight King in the final minutes. His performance was needed after the Flames allowed 26 goals in their previous six games.

Video: CGY@LAK: Quick denies Bennett to hold the lead

"He kept us in the game tonight," Monahan said. "When your goalie plays like that, those are the games you should win for him. Unfortunately, tonight they came out on top."

The Kings finally broke through against Ortio at 9:41 of the second, with their 21st shot. Schenn sent the puck on net from the boards and it went in far side with teammate Vincent Lecavalier providing a screen. 

Ortio was tested early with 13 first-period saves in his first NHL start since Oct.30, and the Kings outshot the Flames 20-6 to start the game. He spent almost three months in the American Hockey League and was recalled when Karri Ramo was injured.

"I saw a lot of pucks," Ortio said. "The only one I didn't see was the first one. That's how important it is. But I felt good throughout the night. Guys made it fairly easy on me. I don't think we gave up that many grade-A scoring chances … that made my job easier too."

Video: CGY@LAK: Monahan one-times it to tie it on power play

Calgary coach Bob Hartley wouldn't say if Ortio would start at home on Thursday against the New York Islanders. He liked how they generated chances and skated stronger as the game progressed.
"It's just 'keep working,'" Hartley said. "Sometimes you get those bounces, sometimes you don't. Like I said before, we can't fault the effort in tonight's game. We were a desperate bunch and could have deserved better."

Video: Kings edge out Flames

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