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Canucks host Kings, set sights on division crown

By Nicolino Dibenedetto

Stats Writer

Los Angeles (33-36-11) at Vancouver (43-27-10), 10:00 p.m. EST

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The race for the Northwest

Division title is going down to the wire, and the Vancouver

Canucks hope a pair of meetings against two of the worst teams

in the Western Conference can help.

The Canucks have an opportunity to gain sole possession of the

division lead Thursday night when they host the Los Angeles


Vancouver (43-27-10), which has already secured a playoff spot,

is tied for first in the Northwest with Calgary after beating

the Flames 4-1 on Tuesday behind 46 saves from Roberto Luongo.

"We'd rather take two points and play bad than the opposite, but

we didn't play great," said defenseman Mattias Ohlund, who had

two goals. "They totally outplayed us and Louie stole the game."

The Canucks and Flames have two games left with Vancouver

closing out the regular season at conference-worst Colorado on

Saturday. Calgary is off until facing Edmonton in a

home-and-home series on Friday and Saturday.

Winning the division would move the Canucks from fifth place to

third in the West, giving them home-ice advantage for at least

the first round of the playoffs.

The Canucks hope Luongo can build on Tuesday's performance,

which came after he posted a 4.23 goals-against average in

losing three consecutive games.

Luongo is 3-1-0 with a 1.51 GAA and a shutout in the last three

games against the Kings (33-36-11), who will miss the playoffs

for a sixth consecutive season.

Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Vancouver's co-leaders with 81 points,

have also been productive against Los Angeles, totaling 14 goals

and 29 assists in 31 games.

Henrik Sedin, who scored on an assist from his brother Daniel on

Tuesday, had two goals and an assist in a 4-2 win over the Kings

at GM Place on March 13. That started a 14-game stretch that has

seen the center compile nine goals and 12 assists.

Los Angeles, which ends its season against San Jose on Saturday,

is looking to damage the Canucks' division title hopes after

winning 2-1 at Edmonton on Tuesday, eliminating the Oilers from

playoff contention.

"We talked about finishing out the year strong," defenseman Matt

Greene said. "We're just trying to make sure we have some good

compete out there and are playing hard.

"We're going for points here, we're not going to lay down for

anybody. Just another game for us."

Alexander Frolov, the Kings' leader with 31 goals, has regained

his scoring touch after netting a goal 55 seconds into Tuesday's

win. The left wing has three goals in the last three games after

enduring a season high-tying five-game drought.

Frolov has a goal in each of his last three visits to Vancouver,

giving him seven in 11 appearances there.



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