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Stoll leads Kings past Canucks

by Brian Compton
The Los Angeles Kings aren't done yet.

Jarret Stoll scored twice and Jonathan Quick made 20 saves as Los Angeles pulled to within three points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 3-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks at the Staples Center on Monday night.

Teddy Purcell assisted on both of Stoll's tallies, while Denis Gauthier also scored for Los Angeles. It marked the first time Canucks captain Roberto Luongo allowed more than two goals in eight starts. He had won 12 of his previous 13 after losing his first five games following his return from a groin injury that sidelined him for 24 games.

Luongo came in 4-0 with a 1.25 goals-against average against the Kings in Los Angeles, including a 4-0 win in the previous meeting.

"We played smart. We didn't turn the puck over a lot in the neutral zone," Stoll said. "They're a good team. They've been playing well. It's a big win for us. We know we can beat any team in this League when we play smart and battle for each other. We got the two points, and that's what it's all about."

The loss ended Vancouver's four-game winning streak. Another victory would have pulled the Canucks within three points of No. 4 Chicago. The fourth-place finisher is guaranteed home-ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Vancouver has won four in a row four times this season, but has failed to win five straight since March 1-9, 2007.

''They're desperate, and we knew that coming in,'' said Luongo, who was coming off a 3-1 home win against San Jose. ''After the big game on Saturday, we got caught a little flat-footed.''

L.A. got off to the start it was looking for as Gauthier gave the club a 1-0 lead just 3:35 into the game. With the teams at even strength, Gauthier fired a 40-foot wrist shot near the right boards that somehow found its way past Luongo. It was the Kings' first shot of the game. Stoll made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 12:17 of the first.

"We've been struggling lately at home," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "It's a big lift for this team. We've shown that we can come back in games, but it makes it a lot easier on us and I think we play with a lot more confidence if we get that early goal."

Vancouver cut the deficit in half 4:40 into the second period, when Alex Burrows took a breakout pass from Daniel Sedin, stickhandled through the neutral zone and took a slap slot from the blue line. It went through the legs of rugged defenseman Jack Johnson and dipped under Quick's glove to make it 2-1.

Burrows has 19 goals, just three fewer than he had in 206 games over his three previous NHL seasons.

''I wasn't surprised by the shot at all,'' Quick said. ''Granted, he was out pretty far, but it was a pretty good shot. It was through Jack's legs and I just never picked it up. I mean, I'm not letting myself off the hook -- I still should have had it. But the guys just kept playing and didn't let it bother them.''

But Stoll restored the Kings' two-goal lead with his 18th goal of the season with 7:09 remaining in the second. With Los Angeles again on the man advantage, Stoll collected Purcell's rebound and flipped it past Luongo as the Kings held a 3-1 edge.

Stoll's multigoal game was the seventh of his career and his first since Oct. 25 at Nashville. He has four more goals than last season with Edmonton, and is four shy of his career high.

''Everyone knew what Jarret was about coming into the season, and he's given us a big boost,'' Brown said. ''He's an energy guy with a lot of skill and he has the ability to finish when we need him to. He's found that little spot on the ice on the power play. I don't know how many goals he has from that spot, but coming down the back side, he has quite a few goals.''

Taylor Pyatt gave the Canucks reason to believe when he notched his eighth of the season at 5:26 of the third, but Quick stopped the other nine shots he faced in the period. Defenseman Matt Greene preserved the win when he blocked a shot with his head in the final seconds.

Senators 2, Maple Leafs 1 | Video

Brian Elliott made 25 saves in his third straight start, and Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley scored second-period goals as Ottawa edged Toronto at Scotiabank Place.

Leafs goalie Curtis Joseph took the loss on Monday night and became just the sixth player in League history to allow 2,500 goals. The 20-year veteran joined Gilles Meloche and Grant Fuhr, who are tied with an NHL record 2,756 goals allowed, along with John Vanbiesbrouck, Tony Esposito and Patrick Roy.

''Good one. Good one,'' Joseph said. ''Believe me, it's not baseball, we don't keep stats like that. I mean, it just means I played a lot.''

Alfredsson, who scored his 350th and 351st career goals in Saturday's 6-3 win over Buffalo, drove a slap shot past Joseph from the top of the right faceoff circle for his 21st of the season.

Heatley got his 31st with 47 seconds remaining in the second period. He deflected Anton Volchenkov's point shot past Joseph, who got the start over former Senators goalie Martin Gerber.

''A good effort,'' Alfredsson said. ''I don't think we started great, but we grew as the game went on and protected the lead really well. We didn't give them a lot of chances in the third.''

Ian White scored in the first period for Toronto, which lost in regulation for the second straight game after earning at least a point in its eight previous contests (5-0-3).

''We got off to a quick start and had somewhat control of the game and they came out in the second and took it to us,'' White said. ''We didn't respond the way we needed to.''

Toronto had a golden opportunity to tie the game late after Jason Spezza was sent off for using an illegal stick. Leafs coach Ron Wilson asked referee Dan O'Halloran to measure the curve on Spezza's stick with 2:16 remaining.

''Our players competed like heck,'' Wilson said. ''The two goals they got, they kind of got lucky bounces on both the goals, they took advantage of those bounces, and I wanted at the end to give our team a chance to win, they tried so hard. The guy's using a stick that's not only illegal but dangerous. I had an opportunity to call it, so I did.''

Spezza was surprised to learn his stick was illegal.

''I guess my blade's skinny at the toe and I didn't think it would be called in a game like tonight, but lesson learned,'' Spezza said.

Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.

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