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Lack, Canucks edge Kings; H. Sedin gets 700th assist

by Kevin Woodley /

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack discussed the nature of his job Monday morning, saying it meant frequently going from "hero to bad guy." Lack said he wanted to be the hero again against the Los Angeles Kings.

After an early hiccup, he did just that.

Lack made 36 saves through overtime and stopped all three Kings in the shootout to move the Canucks closer to the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 2-1 win at Rogers Arena.

"Before the game I was thinking back to the summer, and this is one of those games that you work for all summer and all year," said Lack, who gave up 12 goals his past three games but finished against Los Angeles with the crowd chanting his name. "I wanted to be sharp."

After Dwight King beat him 1:13 into the game, Lack kept it close with a couple great saves, and Daniel Sedin tied the game midway through the third period on brother Henrik Sedin's 700th NHL assist.

Chris Higgins scored the only goal of the shootout on a patient backhand deke that beat Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick, and the Canucks (40-25-14) moved four points ahead of the Kings and Calgary Flames for second place in the Pacific Division.

"It was a Game 7 for us," Vancouver forward Alexandre Burrows said. "We're in a tough spot playing for our playoff lives, and it was a big win."

After Lack made pad saves on Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar, Higgins patiently outwaited Quick before lifting a sharp-angled backhand high over his outstretched glove.

"I kind of watch the other shooters before me; that's the nice thing about going third, is you can kind of see how he is lining up," Higgins said. "He's a tough goalie to beat, so I am happy it went in."

Lack got his glove on Marian Gaborik's shot to seal the comeback win.

Quick made 37 saves for Los Angeles (39-25-15), which is tied with Calgary for third place in the Pacific Division at 93 points. The Flames hold the tiebreaker with 39 regulation/overtime wins to the Kings' 37.

The Kings are 2-8 in the shootout and 1-7 in overtime.

"That's obviously what has hurt us in the standings this year, 4-on-4 (overtime) and shootout play," Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty said. "We got one point out of it, and it could be big for us in the end."

The Kings trail the Winnipeg Jets by one point for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. They visit the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday before wrapping up a three-game road trip in Calgary on Thursday.

"It's a must must-win," Doughty said.

The Kings started well against the Canucks.

After Dustin Brown drove the net and forced Lack to make a good right-pad save after a pass out of the corner in the opening minute, King scored on a similar chance 1:13 into the game.

Jeff Carter drove wide around Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis off the rush and centered from below the goal line to King, who fought off a check from Christopher Tanev and managed to get his stick on the puck in the crease and tap it in past Lack's far pad. It was the seventh time in eight games Vancouver has allowed the first goal.

"They came hard, and we looked a little nervous right at the start," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. "They had two good chances at the start we didn't have to give up. But we got going, and I thought the rest of the game was pretty close. It was just a battle."

For a while it looked like one goal might be enough for Quick, who was making his 18th straight start. After facing 10 shots in a win against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, Quick made 14 saves in the first period against the Canucks.

Quick, one of two goalies (Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals) to appear in 70 games, then threw out the left pad to rob Burrows on a backhand from the slot 1:02 into the second period, slid hard left to right to deny Ronalds Kenins on an open backdoor one-time shot midway through the period and got a break with 2:30 left, when Yannick Weber hit the post after a deke in alone off a 2-on-1.

Lack kept it close with big saves off Justin Williams in alone off a 2-on-1 early in the second period and against Anze Kopitar alone in tight on a similar chance midway through the period.

"You only allow one goal on the road in a tough building, you like to get the points," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "We had lots of opportunities in the second period. Lack made some great saves, as did Jonathan. That was the difference in the game, not the overtime or shootout; the difference was the probably those great chances in regulation."

Daniel Sedin finally tied it shortly after a power play expired midway through the third period. Henrik Sedin cut in off the left side on his forehand and was behind the net when he threw a blind backhand pass back the way he came to Daniel for a one-timer from the left faceoff dot that beat Quick high to the glove side.

"I know he's going to be there," Henrik Sedin said of Daniel. "I don't know if he's covered. He was open. He hit it top shelf. It was a huge goal."

Henrik Sedin downplayed the significance of his milestone assist, but not the importance of the situation in which it occurred. After losing all but one game against Los Angeles last season and then the first three this season by a combined 12-3, the Canucks have won two straight against their division rivals and possible playoff opponent.

"I said after a lot of games this year we're playing well enough to beat them," Henrik said. "We have crept closer and closer. After we got that one in L.A. (March 21), we realized we can beat this team."

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