Two victories against Vancouver in October helped Los Angeles exact some revenge following last season’s opening-round playoff loss. Two wins over the Canucks this month could put the Kings in position to make another run at the postseason.
Los Angeles continues its six-game homestand Saturday when the NHL-leading Canucks try to get their offense in gear in the opener of a five-game trip.
Making their first postseason appearance since 2002, the Kings were eliminated by Vancouver in six games in the 2010 Western Conference quarterfinals.
Los Angeles (36-24-4), though, ruined the Canucks’ home opener and 40th anniversary celebration with a season-opening 2-1 shootout win Oct. 9. Six days later at Staples Center, Kings captain Dustin Brown(notes) lifted his club to a 4-1 victory over Vancouver with two third-period goals.
Los Angeles, which visits Vancouver on March 31, had its three-game winning streak snapped with Monday’s 7-4 loss to Detroit before beating Phoenix 1-0 on Thursday.
Jarret Stoll(notes) notched his fifth winning goal of the season while Jonathan Bernier(notes) made 25 saves to earn his third NHL shutout. Bernier faced three shots - stopping two - in the third period Monday after starter Jonathan Quick(notes) was pulled after giving up a season high-tying six goals.
“There was no message there. It was just a decision that I made,” coach Terry Murray said of giving Bernier his 18th start.
“It was just a matter of making a call and trying to win a hockey game. Bernier was really on top of his game, and the guys in front of him played well.”
While Los Angeles has won 12 of 17 to get back into the thick of the crowded West playoff race, Vancouver (40-16-9) has alternated losses and wins in 11 games since a 6-0-0 run Jan. 24-Feb. 7.
“They’ve been different types of games, I don’t think there’s really a pattern there,” Roberto Luongo(notes) said after making 26 saves and being denied his sixth straight 30-win season in Thursday’s 3-0 loss to Nashville.
However, not scoring goals is becoming a disturbing pattern for the Canucks, whose conference lead over Detroit is four points. Vancouver has eight goals in the last five games.
The Canucks’ power play - among the best in the NHL at 24.3 percent - is 0 for 9 in the last four games. They are 1 for 10 with the man advantage versus Los Angeles this season.
“It’s part of the 82-game schedule, you’re going to score goals and you’re going to go through some droughts, but as long as you keep working hard and getting pucks to the net with traffic and get a little bit more greasy, we’ll be alright,” forward Alex Burrows told the Canucks’ official website.
Los Angeles is 6-2-0 at home since dropping six of seven.