Raycroft, Canucks get shootout win over Kings
After spending his first month with Vancouver as Roberto Luongo's cleanup man, Andrew Raycroft was grateful to get his pads dirty in a defense-dominated win for the Canucks.
Mikael Samuelsson scored in the first period and again in the third round of the shootout, leading Vancouver to a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.
Raycroft made 30 saves in his first start of the season for the Canucks, who have won four of five after a slow start. After playing just 53 minutes during his first 12 games with Vancouver, Raycroft finally got to show why the Canucks signed the veteran to back up Luongo, who's sidelined with a broken rib.
Los Angeles outshot the Canucks 31-15 and dominated puck possession for long stretches, but Raycroft kept it even until the shootout, when he stopped two of Los Angeles' three attempts.
"It was a nice, greasy road win," Raycroft said. "I'll take them all year. We did a great job killing penalties and keeping their top line off the scoresheet. We knew they played last night and it was a tough road game for them, so we wanted to just make it hard for them all night."
After Ryan Kesler scored for Vancouver in the first shootout round, Jack Johnson answered for Los Angeles in the second. Raycroft made a pad save on Ryan Smyth before Samuelsson beat Jonathan Quick with the winner.
Scott Parse scored his first NHL goal in the first period for the Kings, who have earned points in six straight games for the first time since March 2007 despite consecutive 2-1 shootout losses.
The Kings (8-4-2) fell one victory and one point shy of the franchise records for October, both set in 1990 with nine wins and 19 points. Quick made 14 saves for the Kings, who returned home from a 2-1 shootout loss at San Jose on Wednesday night with another low-scoring loss.
"It's the same feeling after two games - bad feeling," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "It's a useless part of the game, the shootout. I hate it, but the fans love it. For that reason I like it, because the fans are excited, they're standing waiting for the next shooter. It is good for the game, but boy, do I hate it."
Raycroft struggled in Colorado last season after barely playing during the first half, but he'll be in the Canucks' net for at least a week after Luongo decided he couldn't keep playing through a cracked rib from Saturday's victory over Toronto. Luongo played two games with the injury, giving up five goals in a loss to Detroit on Tuesday, before taking the break.
"I knew what I signed up for, and I knew what I was getting into," Raycroft said. "But if you work hard every day and try to stop every puck in practice, the game seems at a slower pace, just because guys don't have as much time and room and space."
Parse put the Kings ahead midway through the first period with his first goal in his fourth NHL game, converting a one-timer from Teddy Purcell.
"You play your whole life to make it here and score a goal, so this is great," said Parse, a 25-year-old who played at Nebraska-Omaha. "Teddy set it up nice for me, and I just let it go. It felt good right off the stick."
Samuelsson tied it late in the period, tying Henrik Sedin for the team lead with his sixth goal. The Kings limited Vancouver to two shots in the third period, but couldn't capitalize on the other end.
"We know the Kings are a really good hockey team this year, and they showed it tonight," Samuelsson said. "We tried to keep it tight in the defensive zone. They had to work for pretty much everything, and our goaltender played a great game. We didn't get a lot of scoring chances, but we scored on one of them."
Los Angeles had scored 20 goals in its four victories leading up to its trip to the Shark Tank, but Anze Kopitar - second in the NHL in scoring behind Washington's Alex Ovechkin - hasn't scored in the Kings' past two games.
"This game is a little tougher to deal with because it's a home game and you outshoot them 2-1 and play pretty well," Murray said. "We had some quality scoring chances, and their goaltender hasn't played much in the last year, but he played well tonight."
NOTES: The Canucks recalled G Cory Schneider from the AHL's Manitoba Moose to back up Raycroft. ... The Kings hosted "Canadian Night" at Staples Center, including a concert by Canadian band The Tragically Hip across the street after the game. ... Talk show host Craig Ferguson attended the game.