Kopitar leads Kings to 3-2 win over Canucks for fourth straight victory


VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist to help the Los Angeles Kings beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 on Monday night for their fourth straight win.

Blake Lizotte and Kevin Fiala also scored for the Kings, and Cam Talbot finished with 21 saves.

“It got a little hairy there at the end, there’s no question,” Los Angeles interim coach Jim Hiller said. “A couple of saves by (Talbot) and guys blocked some shots, got it done. It’s a good team. We’re proud to beat them.”

Brock Boeser and Sam Lafferty had goals for Vancouver, which snapped a three-game win streak. Casey DeSmith had 16 saves.

“They’re a great team. We know what to expect and pretty much every game from here on out is going to be like that,” Lafferty said. “So I think we’re gearing up, we’re trending in the right direction. It just wasn’t our night.”

The Canucks had a chance to become the first team to clinch a playoff berth. However, they remained one point ahead of Colorado and Dallas for the top spot in the Western Conference standings.

Trailing 3-1, the Canucks pulled DeSmith in favor of an extra skater with just over 4 1/2 minutes remaining. The move paid off when Boeser’s shot from the top of the right faceoff circle hit Kopitar’s skate and deflected in past Talbot, pulling Vancouver within one with 2:54 left.

Boeser leads Vancouver with 37 goals on the season.

Canucks coach Rick Tocchet called a 30-second timeout with less than a minute to go. With DeSmith once again out of the net, Vancouver pressed for the tying goal. The Canucks got a prime opportunity when L.A.‘s Drew Doughty was sent to the box for tripping with 21 seconds to go, but they couldn’t bury a final shot during the stretch of 6-on-4 play.

“There’s going to be a lot of hard games here coming down and I think this is good prep for us,” Canucks forward J.T. Miller said. “And we’ve got to find a way to win games like that, not give up the late one in the second or whatever happened. I mean, they’re all tight against L.A. That’s just going to be how it is this time of year.”

The Kings took a 3-1 advantage late in the second, scoring twice in less than two minutes.

Lizotte put Los Angeles ahead 2-1 with 3:31 to go on a delayed penalty after Vancouver’s Carson Soucy was clocked for tripping. With six skaters on the ice, Lizotte fired a one timer that hit Canucks defenseman Ian Cole at the side of the net before pinging off Soucy’s skates on the way in past DeSmith.

Kopitar got his 40th assist of the season on the play and has multiple points in four straight games, with four goals and five assists across the stretch.

Kopitar scored his 24th of the season with 1:40 to go in the period as DeSmith got a piece of the veteran forward’s long blast but couldn’t hang on to the puck, which fell to the crease. Kopitar came around the back of the net and tapped it in to give the Kings a two-goal cushion.

The Kings went 0 for 2 on the power play while the Canucks were 0 for 1.

A bad Canucks line change created an odd-man advantage for the Kings midway through the opening period. With the home side down a player, Pierre-Luc Dubois sent a pass in the slot to Fiala, who fired a shot in past a diving DeSmith to give the Kings a 1-0 lead 7:01 into the game. It was Fiala’s 24th goal of the season.

Vancouver’s third line ground out a tying goal with 7:10 left in the first. Lafferty fought off Alex Laferriere along the boards, then muscled his way to the front of the net and popped a silky wrist shot in to tie it.

Canucks center Elias Lindholm sat out with an undisclosed injury. Tocchet said the Swedish forward is “day to day.” Defenseman Ian Cole returned to Vancouver’s lineup after missing two games for what Tocchet previously called “maintenance.”

UP NEXT

Kings: At Edmonton on Thursday night in the second of a four-game trip.

Canucks: Host Dallas on Thursday night in the eighth of a nine-game homestand.

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AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL



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