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Brown, Quick lead Kings past Canucks

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELES -- These Dustin Brown encounters are getting aggravating for the Vancouver Canucks and quite fruitful for the Los Angeles Kings.

Brown was already the No. 1 enemy of Vancouver when he injured Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo crashing the net in a game on Jan. 4. Brown inflicted more pain Monday with the only goal for a 1-0 win at Staples Center.

Brown easily tapped in Anze Kopitar's missed chance to finish a rush 24 seconds into the third period. The Kings broke out after Dan Hamhuis couldn't keep the puck in Vancouver's end. Jonathan Quick continued to be a rock in goal with a 28-save win for his first career regular season shutout of the Canucks.

"It's nice to score, but more importantly, it's nice to win," Brown said. "You go tied 0-0 into the third against that team that's two points behind us -- and the emotion of the game -- I think it's something we can rally around and get going here."

L.A. desperately needed Brown's goal after it couldn't score with nearly 15 minutes of power-play time. The Kings are still in a 3-6-1 rut and, outside of those two wins, have not scored more than two goals in that span. They play the next eight games away from Staples Center, although the Jan.25 game against the Anaheim Ducks at Dodger Stadium is technically a home game.

The series has grown contentious since L.A. eliminated Vancouver in the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinal series, and this was one of the rougher regular-season matchups in some time. The teams combined for 109 penalty minutes.

"It's usually like that when you play these guys," said Quick, who got his 27th career shutout. "They're a tough team and we've developed a bit of a rivalry over the past few years after playing then in the playoffs a few times. So that's what you expect when they come in here and when we go out there."

Asked about being surprised about Vancouver's emotional level, Brown referenced Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis telling reporters after the Jan.4 incident that, "When you see it by certain teams over and over again, it's a tactic, not a hockey play."

"When their GM speaks in the media, I'm sure they're going to react that way," Brown said.

Vancouver came in with plenty of motivation, having gone 0-3 this season against the Kings and been outscored 11-4 despite having held a lead in two of the three games. The Canucks also got defenseman Alexander Edler back from a knee injury that kept him out since Dec. 3 and could have tied L.A. with 59 points in the Pacific Division.

But the Canucks fell to 0-4 and couldn't convert on four power plays. Vancouver has scored two goals in the past two games and one was a win against the St. Louis Blues, another physical team. The Canucks visit Anaheim on Wednesday.

"We've just got to keep working on it," Vancouver coach John Tortorella said. "I thought we did a really good job as far as deciding that that ice is ours also. It was something that's been a minus in our game for a little bit here. That was a big part of our game tonight. We got squat for points, but I think we crossed a couple of bridges in what needs to be done."

The Kings' power play continued to struggle and put six shots on goal, but couldn't set up in Vancouver's zone during 10:13 of power-play time in the opening period. That included a 47-second two-man advantage.

Tom Sestito single-handedly gave L.A. a seven-minute power play when he instigated a fight with Jordan Nolan after the latter hit Canucks center Henrik Sedin.

Vancouver otherwise sounded satisfied with its play despite the missed chance to catch L.A. in the standings.

"I thought that is a big statement by our team," Canucks forward Ryan Kesler said. "I think, in the past, that team tries to bully you and instill physical play and I thought we out-hit them, out-battled them. I thought we were good all game and I think we played the right way tonight."

L.A. defenseman Matt Greene returned to the lineup after being scratched the previous four games.

The Kings have beaten the Canucks four times in the same season for the first time since they went 5-3-0 in 1990-91.

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