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Kings-Canucks Preview

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Kings-Canucks Preview

GAME: Los Angeles Kings (20-13-1) at Vancouver Canucks (20-9-3).

TIME: Monday, 10 p.m. EST.

The Vancouver Canucks aren't used to losing at home.

Coming off their second loss of the season at GM Place, the place Canucks try to improve their league-best home record when they host the Los Angeles Kings.

Vancouver's 13 home wins are the most in the Western Conference and ties them with the Ottawa Senators for the league lead.

The Canucks started a season-high six-game homestand with a 5-4 overtime loss Saturday to the Edmonton Oiler, snapping a six-game home winning streak.

Todd Bertuzzi had two goals and Anson Carter scored his 11th goal of the season, but the Canucks were outshot 16-7 in the third period and overtime.

Bertuzzi was upset with a penalty-kill unit that allowed three power-play goals after giving up just three in the previous six games.

"It's just frustrating that we didn't get rewarded for the effort we gave 5-on-5," Bertuzzi said. "We worked pretty hard but had some breakdowns on the specialty teams that just shouldn't happen."

Bertuzzi has three goals and five points during a four-game points streak. He has six goals and 21 points in 28 games against Los Angeles in his career.

Goaltender Maxime Ouellet played his first game for the Canucks and made 32 saves. Ouellet became the fourth goalie used by Vancouver this year, joining Robert McVicar, Alex Auld and starter Dan Cloutier, out for at least the rest of the regular season with a torn knee ligament.

The Kings are looking to win three games for the first time since Nov. 17-22 - a stretch that began with a win over the Canucks.

Craig Conroy snapped a 13-game goal drought and had two assists, and Pavol Demitra and Joe Corvo also scored in Los Angeles' 4-1 win Saturday over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Demitra, who added an assist to increase his team-leading point total to 41, has 13 goals and 33 points in 26 games against the Canucks in his career.

Mathieu Garon had 25 saves and won his third straight decision. He has allowed three goals or less in each of his last 10 starts.

"You can have all the systems and tactics in place, but the bottom line is your goalie needs to play good every night for you to have a chance to win in this league - and Mathieu played well for us," Kings coach Andy Murray said. "We feel better about our game. We've had better intensity overall."

The Kings are just 1-5-1 in their last seven games against the Canucks in Vancouver.

STANDINGS: Kings - 41 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Pacific Division. Canucks - 43 points, 1st place, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Kings - Demitra, 17 goals, 24 assists and 41 points; Sean Avery, 118 PIM. Canucks - Markus Naslund, 17 goals and 36 points; Henrik Sedin, 22 assists; Wade Brookbank, 63 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Kings - Power play: 15 percent (34 for 226), 26th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.5 percent (170 for 206), 15th (tied). Canucks - Power play: 16.7 percent (36 for 215), 17th. Penalty killing: 82.5 percent (161 for 195), 15th (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Kings - Garon (12-7-0, 2.67 GAA); Jason LaBarbera (8-6-1, 2.90). Canucks - Auld (12-6-1, 2.65); Ouellet (0-0-1, 4.69).

SEASON SERIES: Kings, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 17; Kings, 5-4. At Los Angeles, Lubomir Visnovsky scored two power-play goals and Demitra had three assists for the Kings. Naslund had two goals and an assist for Vancouver.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Kings - 8-7-1 on the road; Canucks - 13-1-1 at home.


Associated Press
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