Series (Game 4 of 4)

Vancouver leads 3-1

Game 1: Thursday, October 29th
Game 2: Thursday, November 26th
Game 3: Monday, December 14th
Game 4: Thursday, April 1st

Canucks 3

(46-27-4, 96 pts)

Kings 8

(44-27-6, 94 pts)

10:30 PM ET, April 1, 2010

STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, California

1 2 3 T
VAN 0 2 13
LA 3 2 38

D. Brown (Kings - RW): Goals: 3, Assists: 1

J. Johnson (Kings - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

A. Frolov (Kings - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Canucks-Kings Preview


The Los Angeles Kings' path to the playoffs became clearer after they snapped a four-game losing streak with a shutout victory their last time out.

They may be hoping the Vancouver Canucks aren't waiting for them in the postseason.

The Canucks can beat Los Angeles for a sixth straight time as the teams meet in a potential first-round playoff preview Thursday night.

Three consecutive regulation losses had the Kings (43-27-6) slipping in the standings in their chase for their first postseason berth since 2002. Los Angeles, though, solidified its hold on seventh place in the Western Conference with a 2-0 victory at Nashville on Tuesday night.

"I don't want to say `must-win,'" defenseman Sean O'Donnell told the Kings' official Web site. "It's still the regular season, but to feel a little bit of pressure like we did, like, `We need to get a win here,' and to come into a place like this and get an impressive win in that manner, I think that was hopefully a real stepping stone for us."

While Jon Quick deserves plenty of credit for Los Angeles' resurgence, setting a franchise single-season record with 39 victories, the 24-year-old had gone 0-3-0 with a 3.99 GAA in his last four starts.

That prompted Kings coach Terry Murray to turn to 21-year-old Jonathan Bernier for his sixth NHL start. Bernier stopped 34 shots for his first career shutout.

"I've only seen him two games," O'Donnell said, "but `poise' seems to be the best word. I don't think it's an accident when you see a lot of pucks hitting him in the pads or hitting him in the shoulder or whatever."

It's unclear which goalie will start Thursday, but Bernier helped the Kings kill both Nashville power plays after their previous two opponents had gone 6 for 10.

Los Angeles still has room for improvement offensively after getting held to two or fewer goals for a fourth straight game and ninth time in 11 contests.

A lack of scoring has been commonplace for the Kings when they face Vancouver. In their last five meetings with the Canucks, they totaled five goals while going 0-4-1.

Vancouver's Roberto Luongo has gone 6-1-0 with a 1.15 GAA and two shutouts in his last seven starts against Los Angeles.

With the Kings in good position to finish sixth or seventh in the West and the Canucks appearing likely to capture the No. 2 or 3 seed, the teams could see each other again in the first round.

Vancouver (46-26-4) moved closer to a second straight Northwest Division title with a 4-1 win over Phoenix on Tuesday night. Henrik Sedin led the way with a goal and two assists, extending his NHL-leading point total to 104 -- three more than Washington's Alex Ovechkin.

"If I don't score one more point I am still going to look back and go into the playoffs with a lot of confidence so it doesn't matter for me," Sedin said. "... We're creating a lot of chances and if we continue to do that the goals are going to come."

The Canucks will be trying to avoid a fourth straight road loss. They dropped their last two road games in regulation to slip to 18-18-2 away from home.