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Vancouver Canucks rally past reeling Los Angeles Kings

By
Dan Arritt, The Sports Xchange
Vancouver Canucks Henrik Sedin of Sweden (33) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the St. Louis Blues in the second period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on February 16, 2017. File photo by BIll Greenblatt/UPI
Vancouver Canucks Henrik Sedin of Sweden (33) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the St. Louis Blues in the second period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on February 16, 2017. File photo by BIll Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES -- The Vancouver Canucks appeared as if they packed their bags a little early Tuesday night. They fell behind by two goals in the opening minutes against the Los Angeles Kings and seemed to have one foot on the plane home from the four-game road trip.

But the Canucks regrouped midway through the first period and scored three unanswered goals in the second and third to lift them to a 3-2 victory at Staples Center.

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Sven Baertschi broke a 2-2 tie with a power-play goal at 4:07 of the third period, and Vancouver handed the Kings (11-5-2) their third consecutive loss and fourth straight at home.

"We bounced back and played a great 50 minutes," Baertschi said.

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Henrik Sedin and Bo Horvat also scored for the Canucks, Derrick Pouliot had two assists and Anders Nilsson made 30 saves in his first appearance since Oct. 26.

"They're a resilient group," Canucks coach Travis Green said. "They want to win. That's a really good hockey team over there, and to get down two in their building and come back and find a way to win it, shows a lot."

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Tanner Pearson and Anze Kopitar scored in the first 3:14 to give the Kings a 2-0 lead, and Los Angeles outshot the Canucks 7-0 through the initial 9 1/2 minutes.

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Starting with its first shot on goal at 9:34 of the first period, Vancouver (9-7-2) outshot the Kings 16-3 before Sedin took a shot from just above the goal line. The puck hit Kings center Nick Shore in the backside as he battled for position in front of the net and was redirected between the pads of Jonathan Quick, cutting the deficit to 2-1 at 5:10 of the second period.

Alex Iafallo had the first shot on goal of the second period for the Kings at 8:47, but four seconds later he was called for tripping Loui Eriksson.

On the ensuing power play, right wing Brock Boeser took a shot from the left faceoff circle. The puck hit Quick and popped in the air, coming down behind him in front of the crease.

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Horvat outbattled Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin for the puck and flicked it into the open net to tie the score 2-2 at the halfway point of the second period.

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"I'd like to see us win a battle in the blue paint there," Kings coach John Stevens said.

The Canucks had a prime chance to move ahead when Los Angeles defenseman Derek Forbort was called for interference on a breakaway by Brandon Sutter. A penalty shot was awarded, but Quick made a left pad save on Sutter at 14:36 of the second to keep the score tied.

The Kings came in with the No. 1 penalty-kill unit in the NHL at 91.9 percent, but the Canucks went 2-for-3 on the power play after coming in 2-for-21 over their past six games.

"I think it's more a mental thing than anything else right now," Stevens said of his team's recent struggles. "I think it's just an acknowledgement and a decision to play the game a certain way."

The Kings scored on the first shot of the game, only 23 seconds after the opening faceoff.

Pearson intercepted a clearing pass from Markus Granlund in the Vancouver zone, skated to the bottom of the right circle and took a wrist shot that beat Nilsson on the short side of the net.

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The Kings then went on the first of three first-period power plays at 1:15 of the first period.

As the tripping penalty on Brendan Gaunce was winding down, Dustin Brown sent a pass from behind the net between Vancouver defenseman Ben Hutton and the right post. Kopitar was waiting just outside the crease and scored into the open left side of the net with one second remaining on the power play.

The goal gave Kopitar points in a career-high nine straight games.

NOTES: The Kings traded LW Michael Cammalleri to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for LW Jussi Jokinen on Tuesday. Jokinen, 34, has one assist in 14 games. He had 60 points (18 goals, 42 assists) with the Florida Panthers in 81 games during the 2015-16 season, and dropped off to 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) in 69 games with the Panthers last season. ... The Kings recalled C Andrew Crescenzi from Ontario of the American Hockey League on Tuesday and he made his NHL debut. Because of the early power plays by the Kings, Crescenzi did not come onto the ice until 10:56 remained in the first period. He was in the penalty box for high-sticking when Vancouver scored its third goal.

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