Canucks 3, Kings 2

Although the Vancouver Canucks still haven’t quite shaken their

Stanley Cup finals hangover, a few days of team bonding in sunny

Southern California cleared their heads a bit more.

Sami Salo and Andrew Ebbett scored power-play goals in the

opening minutes, and Roberto Luongo made 28 saves in the Canucks’

3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.

Aaron Rome also scored in the first period of the defending

Western Conference champion Canucks’ fifth stop on a six-game road

trip that ends Friday night in Anaheim. Vancouver has won eight of

its last 11 regular-season meetings with the Kings.

Vancouver has hovered around .500 this year after falling short

of the franchise’s first Cup in Game 7 against Boston last June,

but the Canucks are gradually building back to the form that

resulted in the NHL’s best regular-season record last year. Their

veteran core remains largely intact – and it doesn’t get scared by

a slow start to the season, or by 44 scoreless minutes against the

Kings after taking an early 3-0 lead.

”We’re a good team, we know that,” said Luongo, who stopped 14

shots in the third period. ”It’s just a matter of getting it

together, executing on the ice and working hard. We didn’t win the

Presidents’ Trophy last year for nothing.”

The Canucks haven’t scored much at even strength during their

trip, but their potent power play was too much for another opponent

even in the absence of Alex Burrows, who missed his second straight

game with back spasms. Vancouver worked on special teams during its

three-day break in Los Angeles after last weekend’s win in

Chicago.

”Sometimes you need a little quality time together at the start

of the year,” Luongo said. ”We can’t take things for granted. Our

power play has been really good as of late, and we just tried to

play our game.”

Drew Doughty scored and Jonathan Quick stopped 29 shots for Los

Angeles, which couldn’t climb out of its early hole after penalties

to Trevor Lewis and Doughty. Mike Richards scored while Quick was

pulled for an extra attacker with 1:10 to play, but Vancouver held

on.

”It’s very hard to dig out of a hole like that against that

kind of a team,” Kings coach Terry Murray said. ”They’re just too

deep, too good.”

The Kings are in a 2-5-2 skid – including just one win in their

last seven – after a 5-1-1 start.

”You don’t want to get down one or two goals like that against

any team,” Quick said. ”The next 50 minutes we were trying to get

out of the hole we got ourselves in, and we just came up a little

short, but I thought we fought hard to get back into the

game.”

The Kings are still struggling to score consistently after

adding Richards and Simon Gagne in the offseason. Los Angeles has

managed more than two goals in just two of its last 11 games, with

no goals all season from Dustin Penner and a seven-game goal

drought for captain Dustin Brown among their many offensive

woes.

”We should be scoring more, especially myself right on top of

the list,” said Justin Williams, who has just three goals in the

first 16 games of his four-year, $14.6 million contract extension.

”We need to find ways when we’re down in games to come back. I

felt the spirit on the ice when we were down a couple of goals, and

we still had the fight. That’s a good sign. We need a comeback win,

just for our psyche and our confidence to know that we can come

back.”

After scoring five power-play goals while beating the Blackhawks

four days ago, the Canucks got a five-minute power play early in

the first period when Lewis’ elbowing penalty left Canucks

defenseman Kevin Bieksa spitting blood onto the ice. Doughty then

committed a foolish cross-checking penalty 2 1/2 minutes later, and

Vancouver capitalized twice.

The Kings killed 76 seconds of 5-on-3 disadvantage before Salo

rifled a slap shot over Quick’s stick shoulder. Ebbett then got

credit for his first goal of the season when his centering pass

deflected off Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell’s skate with 31

seconds left in Lewis’ penalty.

Rome added a goal on another slap shot late in the first period,

but Los Angeles trimmed the lead on a power-play goal midway

through the second by Doughty, the Kings’ $56 million defenseman.

Doughty got off to a terrible start with a nine-game goal drought

after holding out for his new contract, but the 21-year-old now has

goals in consecutive games.

NOTES: Rome has scored goals in back-to-back games for the first

time in his career. … Before the game, Los Angeles activated C

Colin Fraser for his Kings debut. They acquired Fraser from

Edmonton in late July after Ryan Smyth demanded a trade back to the

Oilers, but Fraser hadn’t fully recovered from a broken foot,

sparking a bitter dispute between GMs Dean Lombardi and Steve

Tambellini. Fraser won the Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010.