Kanko made the most of his opportunity by scoring the tying goal in the third period and setting the stage for the Los Angeles Kings' 4-3 shootout victory over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Friday night.
"I think we can all remember how we felt in our first NHL game," Kings captain Mattias Norstrom said. "He was in the lineup tonight and he played a solid game all around, but I don't think you can look at it like Petr is taking Luc's spot."
The 21-year-old left winger was recalled Friday from Manchester of the AHL and played only 11 shifts on the Kings' fourth line -- totaling 5:14 of ice time. But he had enough time to score with 14:34 left in regulation.
Anaheim defenseman Keith Carney fell down and lost the puck behind his own net. Kanko worked it away from defenseman Joe DiPenta and threw it out in front of the net where it banked in off Carney's skate.
"It was just a lucky bounce, and it went in," Kanko said. "I'm glad I got my first game behind me, and I'm excited and proud to be here. I'm just going to try and play my best and play every shift harder and harder."
Kanko was born two years and eight months before Robitaille's NHL debut. He got the news of his promotion from his roommate after he was awakened from an afternoon nap.
Robitaille, three goals shy of Marcel Dionne's franchise record of 550, was scratched after being limited to 5:10 of ice time in Wednesday's 3-2 home loss to Washington. He had just one point in his previous 12 games.
"It's just a matchup situation where we maybe needed a different type of player in the game tonight," coach Andy Murray said. "I think it's been tough for all the older players who didn't play last year, and we've got some younger guys who are playing ahead of him right now. Sometimes it gets to that point in your career.
"I'd like nothing better than for Luc to be in the lineup, but we need him to play better. We've just got to get him back on track. I'm sure he's been pressing a little bit, but he's going to help us before the year's out."
Pavol Demitra and Alexander Frolov scored the only goals in the shootout. Mathieu Garon made 42 saves and stopped Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer in the NHL's new tiebreaker -- the first between the Southern California rivals.
Joffrey Lupul had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who also got goals from Todd Marchant and Petr Sykora. Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 34 shots, including a breakaway by Demitra with 33 seconds left in the third period. But Demitra put a different move on Giguere in the shootout.
"A shootout is a totally different situation," Demitra said. "In the game, you have to go fast. But in a shootout, I can decide what speed I want to go, and you don't have to worry about anybody checking behind you. This was the move I use in a shootout, and so far, it's working."
Lupul snapped a 2-2 tie at 9:14 of the second period with his 13th goal, scored during a power play.
The Ducks were outshot 15-4 over the first 17 minutes and trailed 2-0. They got back in the game just 17 seconds before the first intermission as Sykora beat Garon between the pads with a one-timer from the low slot after a setup by Andy McDonald. The goal came two seconds after the Kings killed off a delay-of-game penalty against Craig Conroy.
Marchant tied it on Anaheim's first shot of the second period at 1:50. It was the second goal in two games for Marchant, who went 10 games without one after being claimed off waivers from Columbus.
- Robitaille also scored in his NHL debut, on Oct. 9, 1986, against St. Louis.
- The Ducks, who led the league with a 91.7 percentage on the penalty kill in November, have allowed nine goals in 37 short-handed situations during their first seven December games.
- Selanne left the ice with 9:34 remaining in the second period after Eric Belanger's stick clipped him from behind and left a deep gash below his right eye.
- The Ducks were blanked in the third period for the first time in nine home games.