Alexander Frolov got the go-ahead goal in the second period, and Michael Cammalleri and rookie Anze Kopitar cashed in on power plays for the Kings in a 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.
"This was a real solid performance by us, and hopefully we can build on it," Kings centre Craig Conroy said. "We've got to turn the corner here and put a string of wins together. We definitely need our goaltenders to be our best players because we're a young team and we make a lot of mistakes."
Mathieu Garon made 22 saves and Rob Blake had two assists, helping the Kings win for only the fifth time in their last 22 games. The only puck that got past Garon was Alex Tanguay's fourth goal of the season during the first period.
"The guys played great in front of me," Garon said. "Killing four penalties in the second period was a big part of the win tonight. We didn't give them much on the P.K., a couple of shots and that's it. So it was nice to see a big effort like that. It's great for my confidence and also for the team's confidence. If we keep playing a simple game like we did tonight, we're going to be successful."
Calgary's loss was its second in three games following a six-game winning streak. The Flames were 0-for-5 on the power play, and are 1-for-17 over their last three games after scoring three times with the man advantage in a 4-1 victory over Detroit on Nov. 17.
"We're an aggressive team and a puck-pursuit team, but tonight we felt like they were pursuing the puck a lot more than we were," Tanguay said. "It seems like we play a different game on the road, so we need to sharpen up and play the same way we play at home. We know if you don't work hard, you're not going to play in their zone very often. And in the third period, we didn't work as hard as we needed to."
Flames defenceman Mark Giordano hit the left post with a 35-foot wrist shot about nine minutes into the second period during a power play. The Kings capitalized on the lucky bounce and grabbed a 2-1 lead at 14:13 of the period.
Defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky jumped into the play from the Calgary blue-line, pouncing on a loose puck and circling the net before making a wraparound attempt that Miikka Kiprusoff stopped with a sprawling stick save. But Frolov tapped in the rebound for his 14th goal and 11th in his last 12 games. Frolov had only one goal in the 10 games preceding his current scoring binge.
Cammalleri made it 3-1 with 23 seconds left on a two-man advantage in the third period, after staggered penalties against Calgary captain Jarome Iginla and Rhett Warrener. Blake hit the crossbar with a one-timer, but the Flames couldn't clear the puck and Cammalleri put a rebound over Kiprusoff's left shoulder after the Flames' goalie stopped another one-timer by Blake. It was the Kings' eighth power-play goal in four games.
"We've practised the power play a ton, and the puck's going in the net," Conroy said. "We're getting screens, we're getting shots from the point and we're getting opportunities. And it never hurts getting get 5-on-3s. We've definitely capitalized on those."
Tanguay opened the scoring at 12:50 of the first when he tapped in a rebound after Garon stopped a short backhander by Daymond Langkow. The Iginla-Tanguay-Langkow line combined for only four shots on net, after combining for 26 points over the previous eight games.
"Wherever we go, we're going to get the other team's best defensive line and best defensive pairing," Tanguay said. "But I felt that in the first period we should have had two or three goals. We should have taken advantage of the power plays in the second period and buried a couple more pucks."
Kopitar tied it less than 2 1/2 minutes after Tanguay's goal while Calgary's Marcus Nilson was serving a hooking penalty. Dustin Brown skated the puck away from the left boards deep in the Calgary zone and headed toward the net before setting up Kopitar at the edge of the crease with a perfect pass through the legs of defenceman Robyn Regehr. The goal was the rookie's sixth this season and first on home ice.
Kopitar also had an assist on Cammalleri's goal, giving him 22 points and tying Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin for the league lead among rookies.
"He's doing great," Garon said. "He's 19 years old, but he doesn't play like a 19-year-old. He's really mature and he keeps getting better. He's really strong on his feet and he's got one of the best shots on the team. He's really going to be successful in this league."
Notes: Tanguay has 14 points in his 11 games, including 12 assists. . . . Kiprusoff, who won his first Vezina Trophy last season, allowed more than two goals for the first time in nine starts. He has not allowed more than three in his 14 starts since Toronto beat him 5-4 in overtime Oct. 14.