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Kings defeat Calgary, 2-1, to extend winning streak to three games

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After a quirk in the schedule gave the Kings four days off between games, Coach Terry Murray was concerned about his players’ readiness before they faced the Calgary Flames on Thursday night at Staples Center.

To reinforce his point he gathered them at center ice after their morning skate in El Segundo and urged them to start building the passion they would need a few hours later.

"It’s human nature you’re going to back off a little bit," he told them, but emphasized that they’d need to be intense for a fast and physical game.

Sometimes players’ eyes glaze over when coaches speak. This time the Kings listened, battling in every area of the ice to scratch out a 2-1 victory that extended their winning streak to three.

The Kings’ offense was provided by Kyle Clifford’s first NHL goal, scored in the first period, and Anze Kopitar’s power-play tap-in at 5:10 of the third on a Jack Johnson shot that had been blocked. Jonathan Quick, tested late in the third period, faced 27 shots and was especially strong in the first period, when his acrobatics included a crucial save on Jarome Iginla.

However, the Kings’ home penalty killing streak ended at 45 in a row, after Olli Jokinen converted the rebound of a shot by Anton Babchuk at 16:39 of the third period, while Clifford was serving an interference penalty.

The other negative note for the Kings was an upper-body injury suffered by utility forward Brad Richardson during the first period. Richardson, useful for his speed and energy, did not return and word on his status was not immediately available.

--Helene Elliott

Photo: Calgary Flames right wing Tim Jackman, left, and Kings left wing Kyle Clifford fight during the first period of their game on Dec. 9. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press.

 
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