Dion Phaneuf, Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter scored power-play goals Monday night, and Jonathan Quick stopped 23 shots for his fifth shutout of the season as the Los Angeles Kings picked up two vital points in a tight Western Conference playoff race with a 3-0 win over the visiting Calgary Flames.
The Kings moved into a tie with Anaheim for third place in the Pacific Division with 91 points. The result also moves Los Angeles a point ahead of the Colorado Avalanche, who lost Monday in Vegas, and two points in front of the idle St. Louis Blues in the wild-card chase.
After a scoreless first period at Staples Center that featured only 15 combined shots on net, Los Angeles got its attack going when Calgary started taking a spate of minors. Five seconds after Sam Bennett went off for high-sticking Kopitar, the Kings hit the lead.
Off a clean faceoff win by Adrian Kempe, Phaneuf collected the puck near the left boards and tried a slapper. With Tyler Toffoli providing a jump screen, the shot eluded Flames goalie Mike Smith at 4:04 of the second period for Phaneuf’s seventh goal.
Another Bennett minor, this time for tripping Christian Folin, gave Kopitar a chance to display his sniping ability. Given time and space after Phaneuf set him up atop the left circle, Kopitar wired a wrister just under Smith’s glove at 11:55 of the second for his 34th marker.
Carter removed any doubt from the outcome with his 10th goal of an injury-shortened season at 8:24 of the third period. Kopitar set him up at the goalmouth, and after Smith stopped one point-blank chance, Carter rapped a rebound through the pads.
It was the sixth straight loss for Calgary, which has fallen out of playoff contention with a slump at the worst possible time. The Flames have been outscored 28-7 in this stretch, absorbing three shutouts.
Smith stopped 26 shots in the losing cause.
Phaneuf and Kopitar each finished the night with a goal and an assist. Dustin Brown added secondary helpers on the final two goals.
–Field Level Media
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