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Jonathan Quick looks more like himself in Kings' 3-1 win over Flames

The goalie comes within 5:22 of his first shutout in helping the Kings complete a three-game season sweep of Calgary. The Kings have won nine of 11.

March 12, 2013|By Lisa Dillman

Counting the ways to best remember this two-game, three-day portion of the wildly compressed NHL schedule, officially and unofficially.

Officially? The Kings swept Calgary in back-to-back games, finishing off the mini-series by suffocating and then subduing the struggling Flames, winning, 3-1, on Monday night at Staples Center. CaptainDustin Brown scored twice, once on the power play in the first period, and with 26.4 seconds left, on an empty-netter.

The other goal came from center Jarret Stoll in the first period and defenseman Jake Muzzin added two assists. Stoll had another stellar defensive game, in particular, a standout penalty-killing sequence in the third, blocking a shot and later hurling himself at the puck to get it out of the zone.

BOX SCORE: Kings 3, Calgary 1

Unofficially? Perhaps the brief encounter with Calgary should be subtitled: How the Flames helped Kings goalie Jonathan Quick rediscover his swagger.

Quick was 5:22 away from recording his first shutout of the season when Calgary ended his bid in the third period. Forward Mikael Backlund, attacking with speed down right wing, caught Kings defensemanAlec Martinez flat-footed and beat Quick between the pads. It was his fourth goal of the season.

Until then, Quick had not given up a goal since the first period of Saturday's 6-2 win against the Flames at Staples. The two he allowed that game were hardly his fault, one coming on a five-on-three situation and the other on an outnumbered attack.

NHL STANDINGS

Kings Coach Darryl Sutter, chatting with a handful of reporters on Saturday morning, had praised Quick for coming off the bench last Tuesday and showing character in battle against the St. Louis Blues. But Sutter added that Quick needed to "get the swagger back."

That might fall under the category of motivational coach methods, Sutter style.

"He's always focused," Stoll said of Quick. "He's a very very competitive guy. He always battles for pucks. Tonight, I thought he was great. The one goal, nothing you could do there. Good play, good shot.

"He's been solid, especially tonight. We needed him. A lot of shifts there the fire drill was on and he was saving our back."

Sutter mentioned the role of Martinez on Calgary's goal, saying: "He got beat clean one on one. Don't get beat one on one in the NHL."

This was just the second time the Kings, who won in Calgary, 3-1, on Feb. 20, swept the Flames in a season series, the other coming in 1999-00.

Handling Calgary, last in the Western Conference, is one thing. Far tougher challenges lie ahead, starting with games at Phoenix on Tuesday and at San Jose on Thursday.

This was a step forward for the Kings, who have won nine of their last 11, fighting off a late desperate push by the Flames.

"It wasn't easy," Stoll said. "It wasn't pretty. It was one of those games where pucks were all over the place and sticks all over the place and not a lot of clean plays."

His personal contribution on the penalty kill was huge in the third period.

"Those are the little plays that make a big difference," Brown said. "And it doesn't show up in the stat sheet and most of the time the only people who really notice those types of plays are the coaches and the players that are in this room.

"But those are the plays that make and contribute in a big way to tonight's game."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

Twitter: @reallisa

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