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Miller, Canucks shut out winless Kings

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELES -- Ryan Miller didn't necessarily visualize this start to the Vancouver Canucks' season, but he knew they were capable of it.

Miller and the Canucks put on a terrific defensive performance in a 3-0 win against the winless Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Tuesday.

Miller earned his 36th career shutout one night after he led Vancouver to a 2-1 shootout win against the Anaheim Ducks. Adam Cracknell, Alexander Edler and Derek Dorsett scored for Vancouver, which is 3-0-1, all within the Pacific Division.

"You know it's going to be a battle," Miller said. "You hope as a group you enter into that battle. You saw what the last two nights can bring. We got ourselves in there and we played the right kind of hockey, and it worked out for us."

Vancouver is also 3-0-0 on the road and has two days off before it begins a five-game homestand.

"From the start, we believed that we were a good team," Cracknell said. "To come down here and play Anaheim and L.A. very well; we needed everybody and that's what we got from these last two games. It's going to take a team effort for us to keep winning games like this."

The Kings are 0-3-0, have been outscored 12-2 and have one even-strength goal, a slump that harkens back to their pre-2012 offense. They were outshot 20-9 through two periods and could not score on three straight power plays in the opening 11:08 of the third.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter called on his top players to lead them out of the dark. The Kings have been through these droughts before, but this is the first time since 1969-70 that they've began the season with three straight regulation losses.

"Absolutely there's a sense of urgency," Sutter said. "We need some production out of them guys."

Miller was forced to make two saves during the three power plays and handled all other minimal scoring threats to make the lead stand.

Sutter changed his lines and put left wing Milan Lucic on the second line but it didn't make a difference.

"We're just not doing the things we need to do to get the chances and the shots that are quality chances," center Anze Kopitar said.

"Whether that's not coming in with possession, whether that's not coming in the way we should, I just think we're playing too soft to get the pucks back. When we chip the puck in, about 80 percent of the time they come right back out with the puck. We've got to get some zone time."

Defenseman Edler made it 2-0 at 13:23 of the second period when he took a cross-ice pass from Henrik Sedin and beat Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick with a slap shot through traffic.

Cracknell's second goal in as many nights came at 5:13 of the second when his shot off Brandon Prust's pass on a rush hit Quick and trickled across the goal line. Cracknell, who was briefly in the Kings organization last year, entered the season without a regular-season goal since April 4, 2013, but has goals in back-to-back games for Vancouver.

"Anytime you can contribute to a game where it's only 1-or-2-0, that helps out a lot," Cracknell said. "I'm just trying to help out at both ends of the ice right now, so it's good for our confidence and it's good for our team."

Dorsett scored an empty-net goal with 2:39 remaining.

Quick was trying to rebound from four goals allowed in a 10-shot sequence last Friday in a 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. His best save came with his blocker on Radim Vrbata during a Canucks power play, and he stopped Jannik Hansen on a partial breakaway.

Vancouver right wing Jake Virtanen made his NHL debut. Virtanen, 19, was the sixth selection in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Kings defenseman Matt Greene played three shifts in the third period, but Sutter said it wasn't a physical issue.

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