VANCOUVER, B.C. – Ryan Kesler scored once and set up the insurance goal as the Vancouver Canucks beat the L.A. Kings 3-1 on Monday night.
Sami Salo, with the game-winner, and Mason Raymond also scored for the Canucks. Raymond added an assist Alexander Frolov replied for the Kings, who struggled on the power play, going 0-for-5. The Canucks ended the night 1-for-5 and outshot the Kings 28-25 overall.
The Canucks (19-14-0) posted their third straight win and jumped over the Detroit Red Wings into a tie for eighth place in the Western Conference with the Dallas Stars.
Despite the loss, the Kings (21-11-3) retained first place in the West, but were denied a chance to move into first place overall in the NHL.
The Kings were also unable to record points in nine-straight games for the first time since 1980.
In the nine games since the Kings last played in Vancouver – a 4-1 defeat – they suffered only a shootout loss to St. Louis.
Kesler opened the scoring on Vancouver’s first shot just 1:04 into the game, burying the rebound off a Raymond slapshot that was deflected by Mikael Samuelsson.
Canucks defenceman Shane O’Brien triggered the play by hustling into the zone to get a clearing attempt and then dropping a pass to Raymond.
It was the second goal in three games for Kesler, who went the previous 14 without scoring.
With about eight minutes to go in the period, L.A. goaltender Jonathan Quick got his toe on an Alex Burrows backhand. Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo followed that up by thwarting Scott Parse on a wraparound attempt.
Luongo came up big again on a Kings power play, kicking out a Drew Doughty slapshot. Moments later, after Salo was called for interference to give the Kings a 5-on-3 advantage, Kesler helped out his goaltender by throwing himself in front of another Doughty point shot.
Salo put the Canucks ahead 2-0 on a power play at 17:15 of the first with assists from the Sedin twins, who both extended their point streaks to seven games. The goal came while Jack Johnson was in the penalty box for holding Henrik Sedin behind the Kings’ net.
Frolov cut the deficit to 2-1 with just 17 seconds left in the period after Luongo failed to corral a Randy Jones rebound.
With just under six minutes left in the second, Quick robbed Samuelsson on a deflection. Samuelsson put up his hands in celebration, but Quick had snared the puck in his glove.
Raymond added the insurance goal at 14:48 of the third, taking a pass from Kesler, sneaking around defenceman Matt Greene and sliding the puck through Quick’s legs.
Notes: Canucks centre Kyle Wellwood returned to the lineup after being scratched from the previous two games. Wellwood took his first penalty of the season. … Vancouver recalled defenceman Aaron Rome from Manitoba of the American Hockey League, where he completed a seven-game conditioning stint. He was scratched along with winger Darcy Hordichuk. … L.A. winger Wayne Simmonds missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. … The Kings appear destined to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001-02 under then coach Andy Murray. … In a sign that the Kings are cool again, L.A. hockey writers have resumed travelling with the club in mid-season. … Team Canada executive Kevin Lowe scouted the game.