"To win in this league, you need more than one line going," Daniel Sedin said. "You need all four lines going. Tonight, we had a good effort from everyone."
None was better than Kesler's. He set the tone on the second shift by sweeping in a rebound, and sent Raymond in alone off the left wing with the game still in doubt late. Raymond, who also had an assist, cut hard into the crease before tucking the puck between Jonathan Quick's legs.
"A team needs more than one line going," said Kesler, who has three goals in four games after going 14 without scoring. "It's about time. I was fighting it for a little bit there -- 14 games, but who's counting -- but I'm getting bounces now and hockey is starting to be fun again.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin each extended their point streaks to seven games by setting up Sami Salo's power-play goal late in the first period. Daniel has six goals and six assists during his streak. Identical twin Henrik has 14 assists, and is tied with New York Rangers star Marian Gaborik for second in NHL scoring with 42 points, two behind San Jose's Joe Thornton.
But it was the second-line scoring -- and 24 saves from Roberto Luongo -- that made the difference for the Canucks, who have won the first three games of an eight-game homestand.
Alexander Frolov scored and Quick made 25 saves as the Kings started a four-game road trip with their first regulation loss in nine games (8-1-1).
Los Angeles came into the game on top of the Western Conference and looking for its first five-game winning streak since 2006 and first nine-game points streak since 1980. Instead the Kings found themselves trailing early after a giveaway led to Kesler's goal.
After Quick was forced to make a big glove save a minute later, head coach Terry Murray called a timeout to settle his team.
"You can't play against good hockey clubs without the intensity," Murray said. "We didn't jump up to the intensity level of the game. We were waiting around, feeling our way around the game and seeing how it was going to play out. We had to get the attention of the players."
It seemed to work, but after failing to convert on back-to-back Canucks penalties that included a 46-second 5-on-3, Salo doubled Vancouver's lead on a power play with 2:45 left in the first period.
Frolov got the Kings back in it by banging in a rebound with 16.2 seconds left in the period after Loungo made the initial save of Randy Jones' point shot. But Luongo made the best of his saves short-handed, including a shoulder stop on Dustin Brown's 2-on-1 shot, as the Canucks' 27th-ranked penalty killing blanked the Kings on five chances with the man advantage. Vancouver has held Los Angeles, which is second in the West in goal scoring, to one goal in three consecutive victories.
"It was one of our best [games] of the year," Luongo said.
Raymond ended any suspense with a confident move for his third goal in three games, and also set a new single-season career high with his 12th goal.
"When we have all lines firing, we're a pretty good team," Raymond said. "[Our line is] starting to come on stronger all the time. When we're skating and going north-south and getting pucks towards the net, we know we are being effective."
- Kings C Jarret Stoll left midway through the third period with a groin injury, but Murray wasn't sure how serious it was.
- Kings RW Wayne Simmonds had surgery earlier in the day to clean up cartilage damage in his left knee, but there is no timeline for his return.
- Los Angeles called up forward Corey Elkins from the AHL on an emergency basis, but he isn't scheduled to join the team until Tuesday's game in Edmonton.
- Kings LW Ryan Smyth, who had 23 points in 22 games before getting hurt in mid-November, is expected back Dec. 26.