LOS ANGELES (TICKER) —The Vancouver Canucks are playing so well that even a trip to Los Angeles did not faze them.
Vancouver had not beaten the Kings on the road since April 6, 1996. But it put an emphatic end to the 0-9-4-1 streak by pushing its point total to 103, breaking the mark set in 1992-93.
“I think we played with a different confidence tonight,” said Canucks captain Markus Naslund, who tied linemate Todd Bertuzzi for the league lead with his 46th goal. “We’ve obviously had a better year and a lot of players feel that they learned from last year.”
The Canucks again got production from a variety of sources as Sedin, twin brother Daniel, Naslund and Matt Cooke each had a goal and an assist. Rookie Alex Auld made 31 saves to keep Vancouver four points ahead of second-place Colorado in the Northwest Division.
“We got over 100 points the other night. It’s pretty significant, but I don’t think our guys care about the point totals,” Vancouver coach Marc Crawford said. “It’s a challenge staying ahead of the teams that are chasing us and trying to catch the teams that are ahead of us.”
The Canucks remained two points behind Dallas for the top seed in the Western Conference.
Rookie Alexander Frolov scored on the power play for the Kings, who are winless in their last seven games (0-3-2-2).
“Right now, it’s pretty obvious,” Los Angeles defenseman Aaron Miller said. “The teams we’re playing, why they’re in the position they’re in and we’re in the position we’re in. We’re working hard but not playing very smart. We’re playing well but not well enough.”
Frolov gave the Kings the lead 6:12 into the first period when he tipped Ziggy Palffy’s shot between Auld’s pads for his 14th goal.
But Cooke tied it with 3:08 to go in the period off a stellar play by rookie Brandon Reid. After Reid circled behind the net, he threw the puck into the slot, where an unchecked Cooke put a one-timer by lunging goaltender Jamie Storr for his 15th goal of the season and third in four games.
Vancouver’s Trevor Letowski was serving a double-minor for high-sticking when Henrik Sedin broke the deadlock 6 1/2 minutes into the second period. Daniel Sedin stole the puck from defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky and got it to his brother, who put his own rebound past Storr.
“Daniel made a great play, forechecking behind the net and took the puck from Visnovsky,” said Henrik Sedin, who ended a nine-game drought. “He got it to me in front, I tried to shoot it once and I got another chance and put it in.”
“The shorthanded goal is obviously something we didn’t want to give up,” Kings coach Andy Murray said. “I think we were second or third in the league for fewest shorthanded goals allowed. I still think we played with a lot of passion. I think if you asked Vancouver, they’d say we played hard.”
Naslund made it 3-1 five minutes later and Linden and Daniel Sedin added power-play goals in the third period as the Canucks won for the fourth time in five games. This was the second straight contest Vancouver got production from sources other than the No. 1 line of Naslund, Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison.
“That’s going to be the key for us in the playoffs, what we get from the other lines,” Naslund said. “When we played our best hockey this year, we’ve had all four lines going at the same time.”