Canucks deny Kings of NHL lead
Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:15 AM
Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor
All that stood between the Los Angeles Kings
and first place in the NHL standings on Monday night was the Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks, however, had a message for Terry Murray's club: not here, not now.
scored once and set up the insurance goal and Roberto Luongo
made 24 saves as the Canucks skated away with a 3-1 victory at GM Place. It was Vancouver's third straight win as it moved into an eighth-place tie with the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference.
and Mason Raymond
also scored for the Canucks, who denied the Kings a chance to notch points in nine consecutive games for the first time since 1980.
"We made high-percentage plays," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "We waited until they made a few mistakes that we could jump on and extend our lead."
Alexander Frolov scored the lone goal for Los Angeles, which went 0-for-5 on the power play in the first of a four-game road trip. Despite the loss, the Kings (21-11-3) retained a share of first place in the Western Conference with the idle Sharks.
"You cannot play against good hockey clubs without intensity," L.A. coach Terry Murray said.
Kesler opened the scoring on Vancouver's first shot just 1:04 into the game, as he collected a rebound in front and poked it past Jonathan Quick
for his eighth goal of the season and second in three games after going 14 straight without a tally.
The Canucks came up big late in the first period, when the Kings were awarded a two-man advantage. Moments after Luongo kicked aside a Drew Doughty
slap shot, Kesler denied the Kings' defenseman himself with a diving effort on another blast by the latter.
"They have a good defensive system and they hold you to not as many scoring chances as you would like," said Quick, who made 25 saves. "You have to take advantage of those opportunities when you can."
Salo gave the Canucks a 2-0 lead via the power play at 17:15 of the first with help from both Daniel and Henrik Sedin
, who both extended their point streaks to seven games.
"We can't be too happy yet," Salo said. "We are still out of the playoffs and some teams behind us are trying to catch us. We just have to forget about tonight and start thinking about the next game."
Frolov cut the deficit in half with just 17 seconds left in the first after Luongo couldn't control a rebound. But the Kings failed to notch the equalizer, and Raymond put the game away when he beat Quick at 14:48 of the third, which required a nifty move around defenseman Matt Greene
. It was his 12th goal of the season.
"We didn't quit for 60 minutes," Kesler said. "We continued to come at them and won an important hockey game."
Material from wire services was used in this report.