Canucks 5, Kings 2

The Vancouver Canucks turned to their top line to break out of a

two-game funk.

Daniel Sedin and Jannik Hansen scored 2:44 apart late in the

second period to lead the Canucks to a 5-2 victory over the Los

Angeles Kings on Saturday night.

Dan Hamhuis and Mason Raymond also scored and Chris Higgins

added an empty-net goal for Vancouver, which put forth a strong

effort against the defending Stanley Cup champions to stop a

two-game losing streak.

Justin Williams and Jordan Nolan scored for Los Angeles, which

had its five-game winning streak snapped.

”Our second period was a bit sloppy, and with the team they

have over there, they can capitalize on their chances,” Kings

center Anze Kopitar said. ”We gave them way too many odd-man

rushes, and that resulted in a couple of goals which ended up

costing us the game.”

On multiple occasions Alex Burrows and the Sedins not only riled

up the crowd with their prolonged shifts in the Los Angeles zone,

but their teammates, as well.

”You feed off it, right? It’s huge,” said teammate Mason

Raymond, who had plus-3 rating. ”It’s fun to watch. I think the

crowd gets into it, you can hear the `wows’ in the crowd, and as a

team and a player you feed off it. Those are the momentum swings we

like to use.”

Following disappointing 8-3 and 4-2 losses to Detroit and

Phoenix, and without center Ryan Kesler (fractured foot), the

Canucks were in need of a strong outing to maintain their place

atop the Northwest Division.

Vancouver played a gritty, tight-checking game.

Defenseman Andrew Alberts was in the lineup in favor of Keith

Ballard (healthy scratch) to provide a physical presence in front

of Vancouver’s goal.

Canucks newcomer Tom Sestito – picked up on waivers from

Philadelphia on Friday – hammered Colin Fraser with a clean check,

and then got the better of Nolan in an ensuing first-period

fight.

The 6-foot-5 Sestito drew an extended round of applause from the

crowd after the bout.

”That’s what I’m here for,” Sestito said. ”Get the crowd into

it, get the guys into it and make sure the other guys know what is

going to happen if they hit somebody.”

Kevin Bieksa, who returned after missing two games with a groin

injury, also had a strong game for Vancouver’s defense.

Up front, the Canucks’ top line combined for five points.

”That was our best game in a long time,” Henrik Sedin said.

”It felt good. We got the puck down low. We were matched up

against Kopitar, which is an offensive line also, so it makes it a

little bit easier to generate chances.”

With the score tied 2-2 in the second period, the Canucks took

control for good on Daniel Sedin’s eighth goal of the season.

After a nice pass from Burrows to set up a 2-on-1 break, Henrik

Sedin passed to Daniel, who waited a second before firing a slap

shot low on Jonathan Quick’s blocker side.

Hansen gave the Canucks a two-goal cushion just under three

minutes later, scooping up a loose puck in the slot and ripping a

wrist shot past Quick’s glove to snap an eight-game goalless

drought.

At the time, the Canucks had four goals on just 16 shots as

Quick had an uncharacteristic off night. The Kings goaltender

finished with 19 saves.

It is just the third time this season the Kings have allowed

more than three goals.

Cory Schneider, making his second consecutive start, rebounded

from a puck-handling mishap on Nolan’s goal to make some strong

third-period stops. He made 28 saves overall.

After Raymond made it 2-1 for Vancouver midway through the

second period with a pretty wrist shot past Quick, Schneider had a

miscue and the Kings tied it at 2.

The Vancouver goalie got caught wandering behind the net and

Nolan wrapped the puck around into the open net for his second

tally of the season.

Schneider almost got caught behind his net again in the third

period, but Los Angeles couldn’t convert.

With the Kings pressing late, Schneider made big pad saves off

Dustin Penner and Slava Voynov.

Higgins scored his fifth of the season with Quick on the bench

for an extra attacker in the final minute.

The Canucks led 1-0 after the first period on a pretty goal from

defenseman Hamhuis, who scored for the first time since opening

night.

After a Kings turnover, Henrik Sedin and Burrows made pretty

passes to set up Hamhuis, who scored into the open net.

Williams tied the game on a power play early in the second

period, ripping a one-time slap shot past Schneider for his second

of the season.

Kopitar earned an assist to extend his point streak (two goals,

seven assists) to five games.

Notes: Canucks forward David Booth had his first point in five

games this season, assisting on Raymond’s goal. Booth missed the

start of the season with a groin injury. … Kings forward Jeff

Carter failed to extend his five-game goal-scoring streak, and Mike

Richards had his four-game point streak ended.