The Los Angeles Kings got the strong start they were hoping for. Their finish was pretty good, too.
Justin Williams and Mike Richards scored in a shootout Tuesday night and Los Angeles beat Vancouver 3-2 to hand the Canucks a second straight home loss.
The Kings peppered goalie Roberto Luongo early in the first period and finished off a fine effort in the shootout.
”We certainly had the start we wanted,” said Williams, who gave the Kings a 2-1 lead in the second period. ”We got the first goal, we played with the lead and I thought we were due in the shootout, so we finally got one there.”
Dustin Penner opened the scoring for the Kings. Williams scored his ninth goal of the season, but third in his last five games.
Williams beat Luongo on his stick side in the shootout and Richards, the fourth shooter, fired over his glove.
Alex Burrows scored for the Canucks, who got regulation goals from Daniel Sedin and David Booth. Vancouver lost for the third time in five games.
Both clubs were coming off lackluster efforts on Sunday.
The Kings lost 2-1 in overtime at Edmonton while the sluggish Canucks fell 4-2 to the visiting Anaheim Ducks.
”You’re only as good as your last game and we needed to come back with a little bit of snarl,” said Williams, who scooped Willie Mitchell’s power-play rebound under the crossbar to give the Kings a 2-1 lead.
”We needed to have that mentality. … We lost the last game and we had to come out and push.”
The Kings, who haven’t defeated Vancouver in regulation in their past seven games at Rogers Arena, improved to 8-1-5 under coach Darryl Sutter, who replaced the fired Terry Murray.
”He preaches being aggressive all over the ice and I think when we do that we get more turnovers,” Richards said. ”If we can be a little bit better off the rush and make some more plays, as long as we’re not giving things up defensively, I think we can be better.”
Vancouver missed a chance to grab a share of the conference lead with the Detroit Red Wings.
Booth, who missed 18 games with a knee injury, tied the game 5 minutes into the third period with his first goal since Dec. 4.
Booth, who was dropped to the third line, took Jannik Hansen’s centering pass and snapped it past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.
Another Booth shot hit Quick on the mask, knocking it off.
Luongo preserved the tie by smothering Richards’ close-in attempt and blocking Williams’ tip attempt with 4 minutes left in regulation.
Both goalies were sharp as the Kings outshot Vancouver 41-33.
Luongo sounded mesmerized by Richards’ deciding goal in the shootout.
”I’ve never seen that before,” he said. ”He came in quick, (then) he slowed down (and) snapped it high glove. It’s a pretty good play.”
Luongo was philosophical about the numerous odd-man rushes manufactured by the Kings.
”Sometimes that’s going to happen and it’s up to me to make some saves and try and keep the guys in it,” Luongo said. ”Obviously, we don’t want to start our games like that, that goes without saying.”
The Canucks were again facing a California club playing its third game in four nights. They were looking for a better start than they had Sunday against Anaheim, but didn’t get it.
They were being outshot 11-3 when Penner tipped Drew Doughty’s point blast past Luongo to make it 1-0.
Luongo had previously faced several odd-man rushes, robbing Penner with his stick and glove. He also denied Colin Fraser and Trevor Lewis on the rebound.
Williams couldn’t beat him on a 2-on-1 break and Kyle Clifford’s breakaway attempt found Luongo’s glove.
Vancouver pushed the pace and drew even early in the second period when the Kings allowed their fifth power-play goal in four games.
Daniel Sedin, with his club-leading 20th goal, beat Quick with a snap shot from the left faceoff dot. Sedin reached 20 goals for the seventh straight season and eighth time in his career with the Canucks.
Just 3 minutes later Quick, who defeated the Canucks 4-1 with a 27-save effort on New Year’s Eve, dropped to the ice to stop Sedin a second time.
Williams’ power-play goal gave the Kings a 2-1 lead entering the third period.
He was well positioned at the side of the net to scoop the rebound of Mitchell’s point shot over Luongo, who had gone down to make a pad save.
Henrik Sedin said the Canucks executed poorly against a team that hadn’t lost in regulation when leading after two periods since April 2, 2009.
”We had our legs,” Sedin said. ”We gave up 2-on-1s, 3-on-2s and breakaways because we didn’t make the right reads. It’s on the forwards and on the (defensemen).”
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, whose players said he was vocal in the dressing room after the first period, agreed.
”They are a good team, they made us work real hard for every inch and (there was) obviously one team on the ice and one goaltender,” Vigneault said. ”The team was theirs and the goaltender was mine.”
Notes: Andrew Alberts was back on the Vancouver blue line while Alex Sulzer was a healthy scratch. … It was Quick’s third start in four nights and 12th in 14 games under his new coach. … The Canucks have the NHL’s best power play, but are the only club to rank in the top five in power play and penalty kill. … The Kings were 35-17-5 last season when ex-Canuck Mitchell was in the lineup.