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Kings earn two big points with 2-0 win

Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 2:04 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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Kings earn two big points with 2-0 win
The Los Angeles Kings have only two games remaining, yet they still have a ways to go before they can be crowned Pacific Division champions.
The Los Angeles Kings have only two games remaining, yet they still have a ways to go before they can be crowned Pacific Division champions.

But the club took a big step towards its goal Monday night, as Jonathan Quick stopped all 19 shots he faced and Slava Voynov and Dwight King each scored in the third period in a 2-0 victory against the Edmonton Oilers at the Staples Center.

The win gives Los Angeles (40-27-13) 93 points, two more than Phoenix, which currently resides in seventh place but now has a game in hand on the Kings. L.A. also moved three points ahead of eighth-place San Jose just three nights before the teams will collide for the start of a home-and-home series at Staples Center.

"It was a tough game for our team, to come back from a long trip," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "Tough game. Give them credit for hanging in there, especially the first period. They hit two posts and had a lot of chances. They could have backed off a little, but they didn't."

With 10 games on Tuesday's schedule, here's a look at how the races in each conference shape up after the pair of games played on Monday night:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Division leaders:

New York Rangers (107 points) missed a chance to lock up first place in the East when they couldn't beat the Bruins on Sunday at Madison Square Garden, but the Blueshirts can clinch the No. 1 seed with a point in any of their last three games, starting with Tuesday's match at Philadelphia.

Boston (98 points) enjoyed a day off after a successful weekend that featured wins on Long Island and in Manhattan. The Bruins, who are locked into the No. 2 seed, will host Pittsburgh on Tuesday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).

Florida (91 points) did not play Monday, but remains three points ahead of Washington in the Southeast Division since the Capitals fell short in Tampa Bay. The Panthers can clinch the division and the No. 3 seed with a win against Winnipeg at the BankAtlantic Center on Tuesday night.

The next five:

Pittsburgh (102 points)
was idle Monday.  The Penguins will visit Boston on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).

Philadelphia (101 points) was also off Monday. The Flyers host the Rangers at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night.

New Jersey (96 points) had another day off Monday. All but assured of finishing sixth in the East, the Devils host the Islanders on Tuesday night.

Ottawa (92 points) enjoyed a night off after winning on Long Island on Sunday. The Senators host Carolina on Tuesday.

Washington (88 points after Monday's 4-2 loss at Tampa Bay) was just over a minute away from tallying at least one point in the standings, but Steven Stamkos broke a 2-2 tie with 1:03 left and then added an empty-netter as the Lightning relished the role of spoiler in their home finale. The Caps are now off until Thursday, when they'll host Florida.

On the outside looking in:

Buffalo (86 points)
was idle Monday, but the Sabres were all smiles after the Capitals fell short in Tampa Bay. Still just two points back of Washington, the Sabres face Toronto at the First Niagara Center on Tuesday night.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Division leaders:

Vancouver (107 points) did not play Monday. The Canucks play two of their final three games on home ice, including Tuesday's match against Anaheim (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).

St. Louis (106 points) is off until Wednesday, when it starts a stretch of three games in four nights by hosting Detroit. The Blues then play Phoenix at home on Friday and visit Dallas on Saturday.

Los Angeles (93 points after Monday's 2-0 win against Edmonton) received 19 saves from Jonathan Quick in what proved to be his League-leading 10th shutout of the season as the Kings inched closer to a Pacific Division title with a victory against the Oilers at the Staples Center. The regular season concludes with a home-and-home series against San Jose that begins Thursday night in Los Angeles.

The next five:

Detroit (99 points)
was idle after Sunday's 2-1 shootout win against Florida. The Red Wings are off until Wednesday, when they'll visit St. Louis.

Nashville (98 points) did not play Monday. The Predators will host Minnesota at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.

Chicago (98 points) has just two games remaining on its regular-season schedule -- both on the road. The Blackhawks visit Minnesota on Thursday and Detroit in a Saturday matinee.

Phoenix (91 points) concludes its home schedule Tuesday against Columbus -- a team the Coyotes haven't beaten all season. They then visit St. Louis and Minnesota on Friday and Saturday, respectively. 

San Jose (90 points) was off again Monday, preparing for Tuesday's huge showdown in Dallas.

On the outside looking in:

Dallas (89 points)
hosts the Sharks on Tuesday in the back end of the home-and-home in a game it has to have to continue to have a realistic shot at the postseason.

Colorado (88 points) continues to wait and hope. The Avs are off until Columbus comes to the Pepsi Center on Thursday.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
Quote of the Day

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