GAME: Los Angeles Kings (16-11-3-3) at Vancouver Canucks (18-8-5-2).
TIME: Monday, 10 p.m. EST.
The Vancouver Canucks look to maintain their dominance atop the Northwest
Division as they host the Los Angeles Kings.
The Canucks are coming off a 3-0 win against Edmonton on Saturday night that
increased their lead to four points over Calgary in the Northwest.
Markus Naslund opened the scoring 26 seconds into the second period with his
18th goal of the season. The Canucks captain has 39 points, fourth in the NHL,
and has scored 11 goals in the last 12 games.
Dan Cloutier, who has lost just two of his last seven starts, made 24 saves
for his first shutout of the season Friday.
"He played very strong," said Canucks forward Mike Keane, who scored
against Edmonton. "We had a real solid game, but we need good goaltending and
that's what he's given us all year."
Vancouver has won three of its last four overall, and is 2-0-2 at home since
a 4-1 loss to Calgary on Dec. 4.
"I thought we played extremely well defensively," Cloutier said. "We've
got so much offense that if we do stick with the defensive side of the game, we
should be able to pull wins out against pretty well a lot of teams."
Los Angeles holds a five-point lead in the Pacific Division over San Jose
and will visit the Sharks after this game.
The Kings are coming off a 1-0-2 homestand in which they took the first
contest 4-2 over the Oilers on Dec. 16, before finishing with consecutive ties
against Phoenix and Colorado.
Eric Belanger, Martin Straka and Joe Corvo scored for the Kings in their 3-3
tie with the Avalanche on Saturday.
Goalie Roman Cechmaneck, who sat out the previous three games because of an
injured left hip, started but was replaced by Cristobal Huet at the start of
the second period after giving up two goals on six shots and aggravating the
injury. Huet stopped 12 of 13 shots he faced.
Vancouver is 7-5-1 against Los Angeles since 2000-01, and has lost just once
at the General Motors Place in that span.