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Kings look to beat Flames for first time this season

by Brian Compton

KINGS (32-22-6) at FLAMES (22-29-7)


Last 10: Los Angeles 3-7-0; Calgary 6-3-1

Season series: This is the third of five games between the Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames. Calgary has won the first two, with each game being decided by one goal.

Big story: Los Angeles has experienced tremendous difficulty scoring goals, but it broke through Wednesday when it rallied with four unanswered goals en route to a 6-4 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center. The Kings had scored eight goals in their previous eight games and 15 in the past 11, going 2-8-1.

"It was great, down by two," Kings defenseman Matt Greene said. "I don't think we can say we've done that a lot of times, especially coming out of the break there and being in a shootout like we were tonight. Obviously, we got to buckle down defensively, especially on the PK. For us to come out and put up six, it's huge for our team. When you're down by two, that's awesome."

Team Scope:

Kings: Anze Kopitar led the charge for Los Angeles on Wednesday, scoring two goals and adding an assist to help Kings rally in Denver. He scored what proved to be the game-winning goal via the power play 3:13 into the third period.

Goaltender Martin Jones stopped all 11 shots he faced in the third. Jones had lost four straight decisions after winning eight in a row to begin his NHL career.

"We could've packed it in easily and blamed it on the Olympic break, 'OK, it's the first game back,'" Kopitar told LA Kings Insider. "Chalk it up with a couple of excuses, but we didn't get down. We believed and we were playing hard for each other, and at the end of the day, the results were good for us."

Flames: Calgary will have a different look Thursday, when goaltender Joni Ortio and forward Markus Granlund make their NHL debuts. The Finnish players have played together in years past and have spent the majority of this season with the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League.

Ortio is the top rookie goaltender in the AHL this season. He went 20-6-0 with a 2.22 goals-against average and .926 save percentage for the Heat. The 22-year-old was Calgary's sixth-round pick (No. 171) at the 2009 NHL Draft.

Granlund, 20, had 23 goals and 21 assists in 50 AHL games. He was the Flames' second-round choice (No. 45) in 2011.

"It's exciting. I'm happy that we get to make our debut at the same time," Ortio told the Flames website. "It's a fun coincidence and it's going to be fun."

Who's hot: Kopitar has eight points (four goals) in the past five games for Los Angeles. Forward Jeff Carter has a goal and four assists during a three-game point streak, and forward Tyler Toffoli has one goal and three assists over the past three games. … Flames forward Matt Stajan has a goal and an assist in the past two games, and forward Joe Colborne has assists in back-to-back games.

Injury report: Kings defenseman Alec Martinez (elbow) is practicing, but did not play Wednesday. … The Flames will be without forwards Lee Stempniak (personal reasons), Brian McGrattan (upper body) and Curtis Glencross (ankle) and goalie Karri Ramo (knee).

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