NHL Game Summary - Los Angeles at Vancouver
(Tuesday, April 3rd)
Final Score: Vancouver 4, Los Angeles 2
Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - Roberto Luongo made 15 saves en route to his 46th win of the season, and the Vancouver Canucks erased a two-goal deficit to storm past the Los Angeles Kings, 4-2, at General Motors Place.
Matt Cooke notched the go-ahead tally, and Bryan Smolinski, Taylor Pyatt and Markus Naslund also scored for Vancouver, which has won three of four. The team has already clinched a playoff spot, but needs one more win (with three games remaining) to secure the Northwest Division crown. With 103 points, they are three points ahead of second-place Minnesota and hold the third seed in the Western Conference playoff race.
Derek Armstrong and Dustin Brown scored, and Mathieu Garon finished with 28 saves for the Kings, who have lost five straight and are already out of playoff contention. It is the fourth straight season Los Angeles has not made it to the postseason.
Los Angeles grabbed a 1-0 lead with a power play marker in the first when Armstrong cut in behind the defense, nabbed the puck on the breakaway and sent a shot over the right pad of Luongo at 14:33.
Brown then gave the Kings a 2-0 cushion at 2:50 in the middle stanza when he came out of the near corner and ripped the puck between the five-hole of Luongo on the man-advantage.
"They had a breakaway on the first one -- and I give myself a lot of credit on the 2nd goal," Luongo said sarcastically when talking about his team's slow start. "I just wanted to do something to get the boys going, so I think it worked out well and we went strong after that. I had to do something -- it was either that or get into a fight, so I figured I'd let one in from the corner."
Vancouver responded with three unanswered goals, the first coming on the power play when Henrik Sedin nabbed the puck along the side boards and slid it to Smolinski, who came streaking through the slot and snapped the disc over Garon's blocker to cut it to 2-1 at 5:12.
Pyatt tied things up at 2-2 when he battled his way to the front of the net and tipped a shot by Jan Bulis over Garon's glove at 13:26, and Cooke collected his own rebound and chipped it over the netminder's pad to push Vancouver to a 3-2 lead with 52 seconds remaining in the stanza.
The Kings managed just four shots on goal in the final period. Luongo made a huge glove save on a shot by Patrick O'Sullivan with a little under two minutes remaining to preserve the lead, and Naslund added an empty net tally with 32 seconds to play.
"We had a couple of great chances in the third period," said Kings head coach Marc Crawford. "We missed a couple nets in the third and Luongo made the one really huge save for them. So you can't ask for much more from what we have right now. We're going to keep plugging ahead and hopefully, in the not too distant future, we are the team that's finding ways to win the one-goal games."
Luongo has tied Martin Brodeur for the NHL record for most wins in a season... The Canucks are 9-1-2 in their last 12 home games...Vancouver defenseman Sami Salo returned after missing five of the last six games with a groin injury...Defenseman Mattias Ohlund remains out with an elbow cut, but is scheduled to return Thursday versus Colorado...Daniel and Henrik Sedin each had two assists for Vancouver...The Canucks finished 2-for-6 on the power play, while the Kings finished 2-for-5.
04/04 01:32:26 ET