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Kings 1, Canucks 0 @NHLdotcom

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Kings have scored only two goals in their last two games and turned them into four points in the standings.

They can thank goaltender Mathieu Garon for that.

Garon made 23 saves for his second straight shutout and eighth of his career, Pavol Demitra scored a power-play goal in the second period, and Los Angeles beat the Vancouver Canucks 1-0 Monday night.

"It was a huge win. You could tell obviously that every single guy competed," Demitra said. "Matty Garon played great for us and gave us a chance to win. When we talked to people from Montreal, they told us that he can be a great goalie. And he's proving it this year, especially the last two games."

The Kings, who defeated Dallas 1-0 on Saturday, have recorded back-to-back shutouts for the first time since Dec. 10-11, 2002. This is the first time the Kings have won two 1-0 games in the same season.

"Those two points are the same if you win 5-4 or 1-0. It doesn't matter," Garon said. "We need all those points. So if we win the games, I don't mind. If we keep playing this way, we're going to be successful."

Garon, who earned four shutouts with Montreal before being traded to the Kings in June 2004, has consecutive shutouts for the first time in 102 NHL games - after surrendering at least four goals in seven of eight starts.

"Everybody's playing well, so it makes it so much easier on me," Garon said. "The last couple of minutes, they managed maybe one or two shots on net. The guys are doing a great job in front of me and I'm just trying to do my job."

Los Angeles climbed into a tie with San Jose for ninth place in the Western Conference standings, two points behind Vancouver for the final playoff spot and three behind seventh-place Edmonton. The Kings have a game in hand on the Canucks.

"We're close to it, but I don't want to focus on the other teams," Garon said. "We've got six more games, and we need those points. That's what we have to be focused on - our own game."

Los Angeles has totaled only three goals in four games. Vancouver has scored only five in four.

"It's that time of year. Teams are making more of a commitment defensively, and goals are hard to come by," Vancouver defenseman Keith Carney said. "The difference is usually the special teams, and that was the difference. Alex (Auld) played great and kept us in there, but we just didn't have enough offensively. We were a little undisciplined. We took far too many penalties and it hurt us."

Demitra was back in the lineup after missing 24 of 32 games because of assorted injuries, including the last eight with a concussion. He broke the scoreless deadlock at 13:13 of the second period while Marcus Naslund was serving a delay-of-game penalty.

Mark Parrish was screening goaltender Auld from in front of the crease when Demitra got a cross-ice pass from Joe Corvo and took a slap shot from the right point that broke off Auld's pads and trickled across the goal line.

"I just tried to put it on the net," Demitra said. "I got some open space and I just tried to shoot it as hard as I could. We got good traffic in front of the net and I don't think he saw the puck. It was a lucky bounce."

Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, who also got an assist on Demitra's 23rd goal, leads the Kings with 66 points. He is one of only two defensemen to lead their respective teams in scoring this season, along with Toronto's Bryan McCabe.

Notes: This was the 200th regular-season meeting between the Kings and Canucks. ... Auld stopped 36 shots, including a breakaway by Sean Avery about 3 1/2 minutes in. ... Luc Robitaille, the Kings' career goal-scoring leader, was benched by interim coach John Torchetti after recording only one goal and no assists over the previous 14 games. Robitaille also was benched for three games in mid-December by Andy Murray. ... RW Anson Carter, who failed to score a goal during his 15-game stint with the Kings at the end of the 2003-04 season, leads Vancouver with a career-high 31.

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