NHL Game Summary - Vancouver at Los Angeles
(Thursday, April 1st)
Final Score: Los Angeles 8, Vancouver 3
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Dustin Brown recorded his second career hat trick to lead the Los Angeles Kings to an 8-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks at Staples Center.
Alex Frolov, Anze Kopitar and Jarret Stoll each had a goal and an assist for the Kings, who have won two straight following a four-game winless skid and further secured their playoff positioning in the West. With 94 points, the Kings sit in seventh place, five points ahead of Colorado, with five games remaining.
Jonathan Bernier finished with 27 saves in the victory.
"They [Vancouver Canucks] are definitely going to be in the playoffs, and are a possible opponent," Brown said. "They kind of had our number all year, so to come out and play like we did, we had an offensive outburst tonight, and I thought we played a really good first period. We did not give them much. We kept the game out of reach for them from the first period on."
Kyle Wellwood scored twice and Ryan Kesler also tallied for the Canucks, who needed one point in this one to clinch a playoff berth but will now have to wait until Friday in Anaheim for another chance. Vancouver still holds a seven-point lead atop the Northwest Division over Colorado and is currently the third seed in the Western Conference.
Roberto Luongo was dreadful between the pipes, allowing all eight goals on 29 shots in the losing effort.
"It definitely wasn't one of our best performances of the year," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "At the same time, we had quite a few players that didn't have a very good game and the score obviously indicated that. We didn't have a very good game. We have to be mentally strong. Those are things that are going to happen. You have to rebound from that and we have the opportunity to do that tomorrow."
The contest was controlled by the Kings from the start. LA scored the first five goals, including three in the opening period, and cruised the rest of the way.
After Frolov's 18th goal of the campaign opened the scoring 5:26 into the game, Kopitar made it 2-0. A shot from the left point by Jack Johnson was saved, but Kopitar punched home the rebound from the top of the crease at 14:01.
With less than two minutes to go in the first, Brown scored the first of his three goals. Johnson corralled the puck at the right point after a faceoff, faked around a defender and skated along the near half-wall before he slipped a backhand pass into the right side of the slot for a successful one-timer by Brown.
A power-play marker 3:37 into the middle stanza gave the hosts a 4-0 advantage. Drew Doughty held control at the centerpoint and faked a shot to force the defender to go to the ice. Doughty then ripped a slap shot from the high slot that Luongo saved, but Stoll was on the doorstep for the easy rebound.
Near the midpoint of the frame, another power-play goal pushed the lead to five. Ryan Smyth held control of the puck along the goal line to the right of the net and feathered a pass through the slot. Brown attempted a one-timer from below the left circle near the crease, but he fanned on the shot. Luongo was fooled by the slow movement of the puck, which trickled in slowly underneath the netminder at 9:20.
Vancouver finally came to life and scored twice within a 39-second span. After Wellwood tallied from the left side below the circle via Pavol Demitra's pass across the slot, Kesler ripped home a wrist shot from the left circle shortly after and the visitors climbed within three.
Brown, though, put the Kings ahead 6-2 and completed his hat trick with his 21st goal at 3:31 of the final period. Streaking down the right-wing side on a 2-on-1, Brown faked a pass and used a move to beat Luongo from in close near the right post.
The Canucks scored once more and the Kings put up two more to round out the scoring. Wellwood's second tally of the contest at the 4:49 mark preceded Justin Williams' ninth goal less than two minutes later. Michal Handzus' unassisted tally at 15:42 capped the scoring.
Vancouver has lost four straight on the road...The Kings are trying to qualify for postseason play for the first time since 2002...Canucks forward Daniel Sedin missed the game with back spasms...Demitra had missed the previous four games due to personal reasons...The Kings were 2-for-5 on the power play, while the visitors ended 1-for-3 with the extra skater...LA will host the Ducks on Saturday.
04/02 02:02:45 ET