Vancouver at Los Angeles

Canucks hold off Kings, claim fifth consecutive victory

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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LOS ANGELES -- Roberto Luongo has been the best penalty killer on the team with the NHL's highest success rate against the power play.

Luongo made 31 saves, defenseman Kevin Bieksa scored the go-ahead goal with 3:54 left in the third period, and the Vancouver Canucks thwarted seven of eight Los Angeles power plays to best the Kings 3-2 on Thursday night for their sixth straight victory.

"Everybody's on the same page on the penalty kill," Luongo said. "A lot of guys are blocking shots, getting into the shooting lanes and paying the price. The rule of thumb is that if they can't block it, get out of the way so I can see the puck. And when I see it, most of the time I'll be able to stop it."

It was the 12th time this season that the Northwest Division-leading Canucks have had to kill eight or more power plays in a game, and their record in those contests is 8-4.

"They're effective on the penalty kill because their goalie's probably the best in the league," Kings coach Marc Crawford said. "We had a lot of great chances to score on the power play, and by all rights we should have had a couple more. But Luongo was just spectacular. A couple of the saves he made were just because he's got a big body, and he got a shoulder on a couple on a couple of point-blank shots."

Brendan Morrison scored on a power play and Trevor Linden also had a goal for the Canucks, who are 19-3-3 since Dec. 26 and 11-1-1 in their last 13 road games.

John Zeiler scored his first NHL goal and Lubomir Visnovsky connected on a power play for Los Angeles.

Bieksa got the winner on a 20-foot wrist shot from the slot that beat Mathieu Garon high to the glove side, after Markus Naslund fed him the puck from the right circle. It was his 10th goal of the season.

"I just saw an opening and it was a great read by Nazy to find me in the slot for a quick shot on net," Bieksa said. "Nazy's line was good the whole game, keeping the puck down low and making some plays."

Linden, the only player left from the Canucks squad that went to the 1994 Stanley Cup finals, snapped a 1-1 tie at 1:34 of the second period with his ninth of the season and first in 12 games. He beat Garon from a sharp angle to the stick side after taking a pass off the left boards from Willie Mitchell.

"Trevor's been huge for this team," Bieksa said. "He's one of the leaders you hear a lot of in the dressing room. He steps up and does a lot of talking, and a lot of the younger guys really look up to him. He's had some big goals for us this year."

The Kings thought they had tied it just 83 seconds later. But a goal by Michael Cammalleri was waved off by referee Marc Joannette because Derek Armstrong bowled over Luongo right before Cammalleri's shot, resulting in a penalty for goaltender interference.

Los Angeles eventually pulled even at the 15-minute mark of the second, cashing in on Matt Cooke's second minor penalty in a 2:58 span. Luongo stopped Cammalleri at the right of the crease, but Visnovsky flipped the rebound over the prone goaltender for his 16th goal as a diving Linden got a piece of it.

The Kings opened the scoring at the midway mark of the opening period. Zeiler, playing in only his third NHL game after signing a one-year contract on Feb. 17, got a return pass from Tom Kostopoulos and sent a 15-foot wrist shot between Luongo's legs as the goalie dropped to his knees.

Los Angeles defenseman Aaron Miller, playing in his 600th NHL game, was serving an interference penalty when the Morrison tied it with his 17th goal. Sami Salo's one-timer from inside the blue line went wide of the left post, but Morrison played the carom off the end boards and beat Garon to the glove side at 16:12 of the first.

Notes

  • It was the second straight game that the Canucks fell behind 1-0 on an opposing player's first NHL goal. Tuesday night it was Anaheim's Tim Brent -- but the Canucks won that one 3-2 in overtime.
  • Vancouver LW Jeff Cowan, who spent parts of the previous two seasons with the Kings, has played in 42 games this season without scoring a goal. The only forwards who have played more games this season without one are Columbus LW Jody Shelley (55 games) and Ottawa RW Brian McGrattan (43).
  • Lauri Tukonen, the Kings' first-round draft pick in 2004, made his NHL debut and started at RW on a line with C Anze Kopitar and LW Dustin Brown. A spot opened up on the roster for Tukonen when Raitis Ivanans was placed on injured reserve because of an infected cut on his right arm.
  • Kings captain Mattias Norstrom returned to the lineup after missing three games with a sprained right knee.
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Everyone wants to congratulate Kevin Bieksa (right), who punches in Vancouver's go-ahead goal.  (AP)
Everyone wants to congratulate Kevin Bieksa (right), who punches in Vancouver's go-ahead goal. (AP)

Scoreboard
Vancouver  (36-21-4) «1113
Los Angeles (20-32-10)1102
Three Stars
R. Luongo
VAN


Saves: 31
Save Pct.: .939
L. Visnovsky
LA


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
K. Bieksa
VAN


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
10:00John Zeiler, Wrist Shot - Assist: Tom Kostopoulos
16:12Power Play - Brendan Morrison (17), Wrist Shot - Assists: Sami Salo, Markus Naslund
2ND PERIOD
01:34Trevor Linden (9), Wrist Shot - Assists: Willie Mitchell, Kevin Bieksa
15:00Power Play - Lubomir Visnovsky (17), Wrist Shot - Assists: Michael Cammalleri, Anze Kopitar
3RD PERIOD
16:04Kevin Bieksa (10), Snap Shot - Assist: Markus Naslund
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
11:50Ohlund: Cross Check - 2 min.
15:15Miller: Interference - 2 min.
16:34Armstrong: Hooking - 2 min.
2ND PERIOD
02:57Armstrong: Interference with goal tender. - 2 min.
05:11Blake: Closing Hand on Puck - 2 min.
09:28Bulis: Interference - 2 min.
11:13Cooke: Hooking - 2 min.
14:11Cooke: Holding the stick - 2 min.
19:39Cowan: Hooking - 2 min.
3RD PERIOD
02:24Fitzpatrick: Delaying Game - 2 min.
06:10Sedin: Hooking - 2 min.
07:05Frolov: Hooking - 2 min.
12:31Santala: Holding - 2 min.
SHOTS ON GOAL
 123T
Vancouver1214430
Los Angeles1091433
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Roberto Luongo60:00312
Mathieu Garon58:51273
Game Information
Attendance - 17737
Referees - Marc Joannette, Justin St. Pierre
Linesmen - Mike Cvik, Ryan Galloway
 
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Ott 5 Final
Buf 6
NJ 3 Final
NYR 2
Phi 2 Final
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Atl 4
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NYI 3
Pitt 2 Final
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Fla 1
Mon 6 Final
Nash 5
SJ 2 Final
Chi 0
Cal 2 Final
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Pho 3
Min 4 Final
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