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Kings cruise past Flames in 6-2 win

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELES – The marquee for this two-game set says it's the Los Angeles Kings against the Calgary Flames, but it's really Jonathan Quick and Miikka Kiprusoff in the spotlight.

Both teams need their goalies to get back to speed, and Quick took a step forward Saturday in a 6-2 win that had the sold-out Staples Center crowd at full roar again.

Quick didn't get a ton of work with 17 saves, but he had no chance on the two goals allowed and improved to 8-7-2 on a night when the Kings honored former goalie Kelly Hrudey, second in franchise history in wins.

"I thought he smothered pucks," said Kings coach Darryl Sutter, who in the morning said Quick needed to get his "swagger" back. "I guess the best way [to put it] in hockey terms -- he covered everything really well."

Kiprusoff? He nearly gave up a goal on a shot from center ice by Mike Richards in the opening minute and was eventually pulled for Joey MacDonald after he allowed six goals in 22 shots in his third game back from a knee injury.

It was the first time he allowed six goals since Dec.6, 2011. A lot of them were more his defense's fault, although Anze Kopitar's wrist shot short side for the sixth goal was hard to excuse.

"I'm not faulting Kiprusoff," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. "They were great shots. It seemed our gap on every goal there was something we didn't execute well and they made us pay for it."

Naturally, the last question in Hartley's postgame scrum was who he will start Monday and Hartley said, "We'll see. Sleep on it tonight."

Calgary has been outscored 10-2 on its trip through Southern California that ends Monday with a rematch here.

"It's huge," Chris Butler said. "You always want to bounce back from a loss and come back and play a strong game. After last night, we didn't do that tonight. We got behind early and never really got back into the game."

Quick was backed by the usual offensive source as Jeff Carter showed no signs of cooling off with a first period goal that gave him 13 goals in 13 games. His 17th this season, behind only Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning, was an open-net conversion of Dustin Brown's pass on the power play.

Asked if he just expects to see a goal-per-game from Carter, Quick laughed and said, "I think it is with the fans. It's kind of funny every time he has the puck, he shoots and it doesn't matter where he shoots it from, it could be from the neutral zone. I feel like the fans expect it to go in ... he's one of the leaders on the team and we need him to do that he's one of the biggest reasons why ware in the standings where we are right now."

Jake Muzzin continued to grow offensively in his role as Drew Doughty's partner as his fifth goal – five more than Doughty – was a wrist shot through traffic. Justin Williams broke loose with only his second goal since Feb.2, a deflection of Slava Voynov's pass for a 4-2 lead in the second period.

Or was it a pass?

"I give him the benefit of the doubt," said Williams of Voynov, who equaled his career-high three assist game from Monday.

"I would think that was a pass. Slava's been playing some great hockey, not only offensively, but in the defensive zone as well. He's been hard, and he's having fun out there, and that's really good to see because he really vital to our success."

Los Angeles took a 3-2 lead from a truly mixed-bag first period but a late defensive breakdown ruined what had been a big swing. The Kings held the Flames to one goal on two minutes' worth of a 5-on-3 advantage and pulled to 3-1 when Voynov laid out a perfect pass into open space for Trevor Lewis to wrist high off Kiprusoff's left shoulder.

Lewis recorded his career-high fourth goal after he totaled three in 72 regular season games last season.

Calgary got it back in the final minute as Mark Giordano and Alex Tanguay slipped behind the defense for a tap-in goal by Tanguay. That capped first 20 minutes that saw five goals and five penalties -- including an unsportsmanlike conduct bench minor on Calgary and a delay of game faceoff violation on Jarret Stoll.

"We're still trying to play complete games," Sutter said. "We're coming off a game where we did not, and then the game prior to that where had to score five goals in the third period, which you aren't going to do very often, or ever again. So we still have a lot of work we're trying to do with the guys in terms of getting their individual games to where they have to be for us to be successful."

Mike Richards briefly left the game in the second period on a hit by Tim Jackman, but returned.

Curtis Glencross did not play because of an upper-body injury and returned to Calgary to be re-evaluated, according to the team. Mikael Backlund was activated after a knee injury kept him out since Feb.7.

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