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Canucks-Kings Preview

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Canucks-Kings Preview

GAME: Vancouver Canucks (12-5-2) at Los Angeles Kings (12-6-1).

TIME: Thursday, 10:30 p.m. EST.

Dan Cloutier and the Vancouver Canucks look to build on their first road win in over three weeks when they continue a three-game trip against the Los Angeles Kings.

Vancouver snapped a four-game road skid with a 3-1 victory at San Jose on Wednesday.

Ed Jovanovski had a power-play goal for his 300th career point and added his team-leading 12th assist for the Canucks, who hadn't won away from home since a 3-1 victory at Minnesota on Oct. 25.

"If we can bottle that third period and take it with us to L.A, we'll be all right," Vancouver coach Marc Crawford said. "It's nice to come into this place, where it's very difficult to play, and get a win. The second period was all Sharks, and I liked the way we responded."

Anson Carter also scored on the power play while Richard Park scored Vancouver's first short-handed goal of the season in the first period.

The Canucks were 7-for-65 on the power play on the road this season before scoring twice with the man-advantage in the third period Wednesday.

"In the new NHL, it's a little harder to move you once you get in front of the net," Carter said. "We made a pretty conscious effort to get in front and try to score from there. We were able to match their intensity early, and we got some big chances late."

Cloutier has been strong in net for Vancouver in winning two starts since missing two weeks with a concussion, allowing one goal in each game. He had been 1-2-1 with a 4.66 goals-against average in five previous road starts.

Cloutier is 7-2-3 with a 2.00 GAA in 13 career games against Los Angeles.

Wednesday's victory improved the Canucks' record this season against the Pacific Division to 4-0. They are 24-14-6 against the Pacific since the 2002-03 season.

Los Angeles completed its road trip 2-2 with a 3-2 loss at Nashville on Tuesday.

Eric Belanger and Jeff Cowan scored for the Kings, who play four of their next six games at the Staples Center after playing six of their last seven on the road.

Los Angeles, tied with Dallas atop the Pacific, has won three of four at home and hasn't lost back-to-back games this season.

Kings center Jeremy Roenick, who had his points streak snapped at four games Tuesday, has 56 points in 47 career games against the Canucks.

Vancouver is 6-1-3 in its last 10 meetings against Los Angeles.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 16): Canucks - 26 points, 1st place (tied), Northwest Division. Kings - 25 points, 1st place (tied), Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Canucks - Markus Naslund, 10 goals and 22 points; Naslund and Jovanovski, 12 assists; Wade Brookbank, 39 PIM. Kings - Alexander Frolov, 11 goals; Pavol Demitra, 15 assists; Craig Conroy and Demitra, 23 points; Sean Avery, 59 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 16): Canucks - Power play: 17.6 percent (24 for 136), 19th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.6 percent (95 for 115), 20th. Kings - Power play: 15.7 percent (19 for 121), 20th. Penalty killing: 85.3 percent (99 for 116), 6th.

GOALTENDERS: Canucks - Cloutier (7-2-1, 0 SO, 3.01 GAA); Alex Auld (5-3-1, 2.56). Kings - Mathieu Garon (4-4-0, 2.94); Jason LaBarbera (8-2-1, 2.44).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Canucks, 3-0-1.

LAST MEETING: March 24, 2004; Canucks, 1-0. At Vancouver, British Columbia, Matt Cooke scored midway through the first period and Cloutier made 15 saves for the shutout.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canucks - 4-4-2 on the road; Kings - 7-3-0 at home.


Associated Press

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