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Defenceman Bieksa scores go-ahead goal as Canucks defeat Kings 3-2

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Luongo made 31 saves, defenceman 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 long wrist shot between Luongo's legs as the goalie dropped to his knees.

Los Angeles defenceman 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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