In a case of reward and punishment, Craig Johnson was rewarded for his perseverance Saturday night and the Kings somehow escaped punishment for their considerable sins.
Calgary goalie Grant Fuhr was perhaps rewarded with a lease on NHL life.
Goals by Johnson and Ziggy Palffy gave the Kings a first-period lead and one by Aki Berg gave them a 3-1 victory at Staples Center, kept close by Fuhr, who at 37 was starting for the first time since Dec. 15 in what many believe could be his last season in the league.
Fuhr, whose scarred knees look like a Western Canadian road map, was tested 38 times by the Kings, thrice from point-blank range. Among those were two by Glen Murray, both taken off Fuhr's pads.
But Johnson and Palffy eventually took advantage of a rusty Fuhr.
Palffy's goal came on a rebound of a Rob Blake shot that Fuhr turned back. Palffy was there to poke the puck into an open net.
Johnson's tally was a third-chance goal, scored at 18:05 after he had shot once into Fuhr's pads, then a second time off the left post.
The carom went to Marko Tuomainen, who sent it goalward, where Ian Laperriere was there to tip it to Johnson. This time his shot skittered between Fuhr's legs.
It punctuated a first period in which there were as many fights (four) as shots by both teams (two each) through the first 10 minutes. From there, things settled a bit, but by period's end, 48 minutes of penalties had been meted out and the Kings had blown three power-play opportunities.
It was a sign of things to come.
For that matter, it was an indicator of what fans at Staples Center have seen throughout a homestand that stretched into its sixth game before an announced 18,118, the season's 15th sellout.
The Kings had only two goals in 35 power-play opportunities entering the game, and in the first period they had a five-on-three advantage for 1:15 and managed only one shot. In the second period, they had 1:30 of five-on-three and managed four shots, none of them getting past Fuhr.
In all, they had 15 shots on eight power plays and failed to score.
The missed opportunities loomed large when the Kings' lead eroded to 2-1 on Jarome Iginla's power-play goal at 9:11 of the second period.
It was left to King goalie Jamie Storr, starting his third game in a row, to hold off the Flames. Storr was in grammar school in Ontario when Fuhr was winning Stanley Cups in Edmonton, and on Saturday could have played goal in Fuhr's rocking chair for most of two periods.
That changed in the third when he gloved a shot by Bobby Dollas at 7:39 and dealt with a few desperation rushes by the Flames, who are tied with the Mighty Ducks for ninth place in the West, three points behind San Jose.
Storr's job got easier in the third period when, in a four-on-four situation, Luc Robitaille took a puck in the neutral zone, found the ice closed by Calgary's Darryl Shannon and muscled past him to backhand a shot toward Fuhr.
Fuhr turned it back, and Robitaille kicked it toward the left, where Berg was alone in the crease and merely had to poke the puck into the net for a 3-1 lead at 11:28.
From there, the Kings continued their third-period rope-a-dope, although that effort was impaired by their penalty proclivity. They had to kill off successive penalties, totaling 3:50, and did so successfully.
Their reward was another two points on the playoff trail. They have 77 now, good enough for sixth place, four points ahead of seventh-place Edmonton and eight ahead of the Ducks and Calgary.
Los Angeles swept a season series from the Flame franchise for the first time since the team's first season in Atlanta.
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