VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -Jason LaBarbera knows the Los Angeles Kings' No. 1 goaltender job is up for grabs. He made a strong case to hold onto it Friday night.
LaBarbera made 26 saves, including stopping a 2-on-none break early in the second period that sparked a three-goal outburst, to lead the Kings to a 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
"I know it's there," LaBarbera said of the starting job. "I know it's an opportunity for me. I struggled a bit early but hopefully I can just build off this and take it from here because I know I'm capable of doing it."
After using eight goaltenders since the start of last season, the Kings would love to see LaBarbera take control of the crease. He started early against the Canucks, making nine saves while stopping all four power plays in the first period, then robbing Alexandre Burrows on the two-man break 1:24 into the second.
The Kings' offense broke out less than two minutes later, scoring three times in just over seven minutes.
Jack Johnson scored his first NHL goal at 3:04 for Los Angeles, Mike Cammalleri added his NHL-leading eighth goal on a power play at 5:41 and Alexander Frolov made it 3-1 at 9:57.
Dustin Brown was credited with an empty-net goal with 23 seconds left as the Kings won for the second time in three games after losing five straight.
"It's huge for everyone in this room, not only myself but every guy in the room," said LaBarbera, who replaced Jean-Sebastien Aubin for the final period of a 4-3 loss in Calgary on Thursday. "We played well the last three games and played well last night and just didn't get the result. It's nice to be able to come in here and get the win."
LaBarbera, a Vancouver native, was stuck in the AHL while the Kings went through five goalies last season. But they couldn't recall him despite the fact he was en route to earning AHL Goalie of the Year honors because of fears they would lose him on recallable waivers.
This year was supposed to be LaBarbera's big chance, but instead he watched as prize rookie Jonathan Bernier started four of the first six games before being sent back down to junior hockey earlier this week. He watched Aubin start the next two before making his third start Friday, winning his first NHL game since April 2006 and giving the Kings their first road win in four tries.
Matt Cooke beat him on a rebound in the first period, and Mattias Ohlund scored on a high blast over his glove with 5:47 left. But LaBarbera made a game-saving glove stop on a similar shot by Taylor Pyatt with 4:01 left, then preserved the win by stopping Brendan Morrison alone in tight with 1:02 left.
"All his saves were huge," Cammalleri said. "It's been well documented we've had our troubles starting from the back end the last few years. But like a lot of the guys that have played with Barbs before, I'm not shocked. This guy can play."
Roberto Luongo made 12 saves for the Canucks, who have lost four of five at home.
It was the second straight game Vancouver has been undone by one bad stretch. They lost to San Jose on Monday after giving up three goals in a 3:20 span early in the third period, and were undone Friday by three goals in a 6:53 stretch.
"For some reason we're getting five, six minutes putting us behind the 8-ball and it's a tough league to come back in," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said.
Johnson, a prized defensive prospect playing his first full season, converted a pass from Kyle Calder on a 3-on-1 after a bad Canucks giveaway, and Cammalleri gave the Kings the lead on a power play.
Luongo made a save on Cammalleri alone in front and managed to stop the rebound, but the forward was untouched and converted on his third try.
"One of the top scorers in the NHL gets three whacks at a puck in front of our net there's a good chance it's going to end up behind him," Vigneault said.
Frolov finished the burst with a tap-in from the side of the net after a great fake shot slap pass from defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky.
Notes: Kings LW Ladislav Nagy, who signed a one-year, $3.75 million contract this summer, was in the lineup after being scratched the last two games. He had an assist. ... Vancouver rookie LW Mason Raymond was in the lineup after being sent down to Manitoba of the AHL for one game Wednesday. ... Canucks D Lukas Krajicek returned after missing one game with a bruised foot. ... The Kings play their next four games at home, while the Canucks hit the road for four games in six nights.
|Matt Cooke (1) ASST: Alexandre Burrows (2), Ryan Kesler (3)|
1 - 0 VAN
|Jack Johnson (1) ASST: Kyle Calder (1), Derek Armstrong (3)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Mike Cammalleri (8) ASST: Anze Kopitar (8), Dustin Brown (4)|
2 - 1 LAK
|Alex Frolov (1) ASST: Lubomir Visnovsky (6), Ladislav Nagy (4)|
3 - 1 LAK
|Mattias Ohlund (2) ASST: Lukas Krajicek (2), Ryan Kesler (4)|
3 - 2 LAK
|EN - Dustin Brown (4) ASST: NONE|
4 - 2 LAK
|Derek Armstrong Roughing against Kevin Bieksa|
|Dustin Brown Hooking against Markus Naslund|
|Raitis Ivanans Fighting (maj) against Taylor Pyatt|
|Taylor Pyatt Fighting (maj) against Raitis Ivanans|
|Alex Frolov Interference against Mike Weaver|
|Rick Rypien Hi stick - double minor against Jack Johnson|
|Alexandre Burrows Holding against Patrick O'Sullivan|
|Alexandre Burrows Hi-sticking against Anze Kopitar|
|Brian Willsie Hi-sticking against Henrik Sedin|