Canucks blank Kings to eclipse 100-point plateau
Roberto Luongo makes 38 saves, Manny Malhotra scores lone goal
Roberto Luongo made 38 saves for his fourth shutout of the season as the Vancouver Canucks blanked the Los Angeles Kings 1-0 on Monday night.
Manny Malhotra scored the game's lone goal and Vancouver posted its third straight win without injured scoring star Daniel Sedin, who is out with a concussion.
The Canucks (46-21-9) cracked the 100-point barrier for the fourth straight season and moved within two points of Western Conference-leading St. Louis.
The Kings (37-27-12) suffered just their second loss in eight games despite outshooting Vancouer 37-25.
Malhotra opened the scoring 3:05 into the game when he fired in a Max Lapierre pass off the corner of the post and the crossbar. It was Malhotra's first goal in 14 games.
He had not scored since a Feb. 18 home win over Toronto. The goal came on only Vancouver's second shot of the game, but the Canucks managed just three more shots in the rest of the first period.
Vancouver received two power plays just past the midway point of the second period. Kyle Clifford was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for spraying ice on Luongo while stopping suddenly to avoid a collision with the Canucks goaltender as he smothered the puck.
Just after his penalty expired, former Canuck Willie Mitchell was called for interference on Lapierre.
But Vancouver only managed a total of one shot over both power plays.
The Kings enjoyed a decisive edge in shots in the second, but rarely threatened until the late going. Luongo caught a Justin Williams wrist shot during an L.A. power play and then the Kings winger missed a tap-in on a goalmouth pass.
Luongo was kept busy in the third period as the Kings had a number of dangerous chances. First he stopped a high Anze Kopitar shot with his left shoulder. A minute and a half later, Luongo foiled Trevor Lewis as he came around the net and unleashed a quick shot. Then he blocked a hard Slava Voynov goal with his chest.
With just over six minutes left in the third period, Luongo received help from defencemen Sami Salo and Dan Hamhuis as they cleared the puck while he was down and under pressure from the Kings after failing to control an L.A. dump-in. Luongo then robbed Kopitar on a mid-air deflection of Dustin Brown's backhand from close range.
The pressure on the Canucks eased at 16:37 as Dustin Penner was called for goaltender interference. After being pushed into Luongo, he gave him an extra shove.
But the Kings received a late power play as Vancouver's Alex Edler was called for holding in the final minute. But Luongo held off the Kings as they made a late desperate charge for the equalizer.
|Western Playoff Race||PTS.||GR||ROW**|
|*Division Leader **ROW = Regulation + OT Wins|