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Kesler scores only goal, Luongo makes 20 saves as Canucks beat Kings 1-0

NHL.com @NHL

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Roberto Luongo made Ryan Kesler's lone power-play goal stand up Thursday as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Los Angeles Kings 1-0.

The win moved Vancouver two points ahead of the Calgary Flames in the battle for first place in the Northwest Division as the NHL's regular season enters the final weekend. Kesler was in perfect position at 5:49 of the second period to deposit a rebound behind Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick.

Luongo, who stopped 46 shots in a 4-1 win Tuesday over the Flames, wasn't tested nearly as often by the Kings and finished with 20 saves.

The shutout was Luongo's eighth of the season to surpass the club record of seven set by Dan Cloutier in 2001-02. It was the second time he blanked the Kings this season.

Anze Kopitar came close to knotting the score for the Kings early in the third period but he saw his backhand go between Luongo legs but miss the net. Luongo also got a glove on a point blank Alexander Frolov attempt.

The winner of the Northwest gets the Western Conference's third seed and home-ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Canucks, who improved to 44-27-10 with their second straight victory, play their final regular-season game Saturday on the road against the Colorado Avalanche.

The Flames can overtake Vancouver by winning their final two games Friday and Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers.

If Vancouver and Calgary end up in a tie, the Flames would get the nod because of more victories.

Kesler scored after screening Quick as Mats Sundin shot from the top of the face-off circle on the power play.

The Canucks had the best chances of the middle frame as they outshot the Kings 12-6.

Both teams had limited scoring opportunities in the first period as the Kings clogged the neutral zone.

Dustin Brown missed an open Vancouver net when he tried to one-time a rebound off the end boards.

Quick got a pad on a Kevin Bieksa shot from the top of the face-off circle and foiled Kyle Wellwood with his blocker when the Canuck forward burst through the Los Angeles defence.

Kesler had the best chance on a Vancouver power play late in the period but his shot hit the post.

NOTES: Kesler was voted Canuck MVP by fans ... Other awards were Willie Mitchell, outstanding defenceman, Alex Burrows, most exciting player and Steve Bernier, unsung hero. ... The Oilers say they will start rookie backup goalie Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers in both games against the Flames. ... He won his only start against Calgary. ... The Kings, who missed the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year, end their season at home Saturday against the San Jose Sharks.

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