LOS ANGELES – The Roberto Luongo feel-good revenge story died a slow death over the final 25-plus minutes Monday at Staples Center.
His teammates played a large role, but fingerprints were found on a Los Angeles Kings squad that forged resiliency and extended the script from last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-2 shootout victory.
Jeff Carter scored in the third round before Jonathan Quick sealed a gutty finish for Los Angeles, which erased a 2-0 deficit in the second period with 43 seconds left in regulation. The Kings allowed only three shots on goal in the third period and survived a frantic overtime to get the win in the first meeting of the teams since the eighth-seeded Kings upset the Presidents' Trophy winning Canucks last April.
"You play resilient," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "You've got to win games like that."
Sutter seems to be getting his team back up to speed after a 0-2-1 start. The Kings ended an 0-for-25 power-play slump and took only three penalties. The Vancouver-revenge subplot seemed superfluous for the defending champions.
"Anytime you get two points, you get a little boost of confidence," said Quick, who stopped a unorthodox move by Alexandre Burrows in the first Vancouver shootout attempt and then Alex Edler and Zack Kassian. "I think it's only good for tonight. You get two days in between games now and we've got to use our time properly to be able to take the momentum to Thursday night [against Nashville]."
The normally media-guarded Quick moved his bags midway through his postgame scrum so reporters could get closer. It was an odd juxtaposition to Luongo, the soon-to-be traded goalie who was oh-so-close to avenging a loss in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
Luongo was left somewhat helpless in that first round loss when Vancouver had no answer for L.A.'s forecheck and allowed seven goals in the first two games, essentially forcing a franchise change to Cory Schneider.
Luongo didn't get much help from his teammates late this time, either. He was poised for a win with 26 stops, but L.A. forced overtime with 43 seconds left when Slava Voynov one-timed Anze Kopitar's pass from the right point. The puck trickled through traffic and found the back of the net.
"It's disappointing getting scored on in the last minute like that," Luongo said. "I thought we played well tonight. [It's] tough to assess performance after a loss. [You] always want to find ways to be better, maybe make an extra save somewhere."
"He was real solid in all areas," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "He did what he's supposed to do – give his team a chance to win."
The end of L.A.'s power play drought couldn't have come at a better time for the Kings, down 2-0 late in the second when Christopher Tanev was called for high sticking.
Mike Richards' attempt at a loose puck deflected to open ice for Carter, who whacked it through Luongo from the right side.
Los Angeles probably deserved it after it spent much of the first 35 minutes of the game in Vancouver's zone, but got nothing out of it. The Kings moved the puck well on their second power play, but managed to add two more scoreless tries to the streak.
Meanwhile, Vancouver converted on the few early chances it saw.
That ended the scoring for Vancouver, which is now in an 0-for-10 slump on the power play. The Canucks concluded three games played in four nights.
"We emptied the tank," Vigneault said. "Our guys did what they had to do every shift against the Stanley Cup champions. We battled real hard … obviously when you get that type of effort like we did tonight, you think that you should win. Losing is not fun but … I thought some of our guys took a step in the right direction and hopefully we'll continue to do that."
Kassian tapped in a rebound on Edler's slap shot in the first to quiet the home crowd.
Manny Malhotra returned to the lineup for Vancouver after he went home for family reasons and won five of eight draws.