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Kings hold off Flames 2-1 @NHL

The Los Angeles Kings made it three wins in a row by finding a way to beat their nemesis.

Kyle Clifford scored his first NHL goal, Anze Kopitar got the eventual game-winner and Jonathan Quick made 26 saves as the Kings held off the Calgary Flames 2-1 on Thursday night.

The Kings had beaten the Flames just once in their previous nine meetings in the past two-plus seasons, including a 3-1 loss at Calgary on the first Sunday night of the season. Even with the victory, they've won just six of 22 meetings since the start of the 2005-06 season.

"In my three years here, I think that was the best 60 minutes we've played against that team," defenseman Drew Doughty said. "Every time, I don't know what it is, but we come out slow against them, and if we have the lead, we lose it, or if we're losing, we never get it back. So it was definitely good to play tonight."

The Kings were also playing for the first time since Saturday's big 3-2 OT win against Detroit.

"We knew it was going to be a good challenge, (to see) how we were going to respond after the four or five days off," Kopitar said. "Maybe there was a little bit of rust in the first few minutes, but I thought that as soon as everybody got their first shift in, I thought we were pretty sharp throughout the whole 60 minutes."

Clifford, a 19-year-old rookie, opened the scoring 12:08 into the game when he crashed the crease just as Wayne Simmonds' pass came across the front of the net. The puck hit Clifford's skate and caromed past Miikka Kiprusoff to put the Kings ahead to stay.

"It was probably the ugliest first goal in history," Clifford said. "But they don't ask how, just how many. This is one."

Clifford's goal was ruled not to have been kicked in -- unlike an apparent goal by Calgary's Matt Stajan six minutes earlier, which was originally ruled a goal but overturned by a video review that ruled Stajan had kicked the puck into the net.

"I don't know if that's what I did," Stajan said. "It was a battle in the crease and I was trying to adjust myself because my stick was caught. Obviously when I turned, it looked like I kicked it. Trust me, I didn't know exactly where the puck was. There were guys falling into me."

The Kings doubled their lead with a power-play goal 5:10 into the third period, thanks to a good bounce. Jack Johnson's point shot got hit the leg of Flames defenseman Anton Babchuk and came right to Kopitar at the left of the net for an easy backhander past Kiprusoff. It was his team-high 11th of the season.

The Flames did do something that no visiting team had done this season -- score a power-play goal against the Kings at Staples Center. The Kings were 45-for-45 in their first 12-plus home games before Babchuk's blast from the left point hit Quick but trickled behind him before Olli Jokinen swatted it over the goal line with 3:21 remaining. They pressed for the equalizer in the final minutes but couldn't beat Quick again.

"I thought our defensemen were under siege a lot, and I didn't think our forwards had a good game," Calgary coach Brent Sutter said. "We weren't strong on our forecheck, and we allowed them to forecheck hard on us. We have to regroup and get going again. It sounds like a broken record, but that's the only way we can do it."

Los Angeles fell just short of becoming the first team to go without allowing a power-play goal in 13 consecutive home games since Colorado did it in 2001-02.

"It wasn't everything, but we certainly were aware of it," defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "We wanted to keep it going."

The Kings take their three-game winning streak into Saturday's home game against Minnesota, ending a stretch that's seen them play just four time -- all at the Staples Center -- in a two-week span.

"We're obviously still not happy about all those losses, but we're past that, and now that we're on a roll we just want to continue this," Doughty said. "We've got a big game Saturday, and then we go right into Detroit on Monday. So both of those games are conference games, and must-wins."

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report

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