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Vancouver rally comes up short in loss to Kings

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Vancouver Canucks simply ran out of time
against the Los Angeles Kings, whose offense shut down after an
early power-play outburst.

The Canucks rallied with three goals in the third period, but
the Kings held on for a 5-4 victory on Thursday night.

Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky scored twice on the power play in a
53-second span of the first period and Michael Cammalleri also
scored with the man advantage, helping Los Angeles build a 5-1
cushion.

"We gave them an opportunity, and that's what great teams do,"
Kings center Craig Conroy said. "If you lose those kind of games,
you really take it to heart and you think about it. The first game
home after a long road trip is always the toughest, I think. I
don't know why, but for us to come in here and beat a team like
that is a big positive."

Jeff Cowan and Conroy scored 16 seconds apart in the third to
give Los Angeles their four-goal lead and drive Vancouver
goaltender Dan Cloutier to the bench with 16:40 remaining. Todd
Bertuzzi scored about four minutes later on a power play and Markus
Naslund had two goals in a 55-second stretch, narrowing the gap to
5-4 with 2:47 remaining.

"Dan battled very hard for us as he does every night. And
without him in the net, it would probably have been more than a 5-1
lead when he left," Vancouver defenseman Mattias Ohlund said. "I
don't think it had anything to do with Dan's play. But usually a
change gives teams a little lift, and for us it did."

Pavol Demitra had three assists, and Mathieu Garon made 32 saves
in his fourth consecutive start while Jason LaBarbara has been
attending to personal matters. Alexander Frolov had two assists,
giving the Frolov-Demitra-Conroy line 26 goals and 38 assists over
the last 14 games.

"We're hungry and we're cruising right along," Conroy said.
"Alex and Pavol are the type of guys that once they smell a little
blood in the water, they're circling."

The three power-play goals were a season high for the Kings, who
outshot Vancouver 12-1 over the first 12½ minutes while taking a
2-0 lead.

"That first period was very undisciplined," Naslund said. "We
gave them a lead that was tough to come back from. We battled hard
to get back, but we started too late. We've got to play smarter.
Consistency has been one of the big things we've tried to find all
year, and we're still working on it."

There were 21 seconds remaining on a 5-on-3 advantage when
Visnovsky used Cammalleri and Canucks defenseman Sami Salo as a
screen to beat Cloutier to the stick side with a 30-foot slap shot
at 9:39.

Visnovsky, who hadn't scored a goal in six games since his hat
trick at Dallas on Nov. 2, connected again with 12 seconds still
left on an interference penalty against Ohlund. Frolov earned his
100th NHL point on the play, setting up Visnovsky with a pass
through the crease.

"They've got a good power play and we put ourselves in a bad
spot," Naslund said. "The fact that we took so many penalties in
the first period didn't help. Maybe it was a sign that we weren't
ready to play. I'm not sure."

The Kings also capitalized on their next power play. Ohlund,
playing in his 500th NHL game, fanned on an attempted clearing pass
from the right corner of the Vancouver zone. Demitra jumped on the
loose puck and passed to Cammalleri, who made a move to sidestep
Richard Park and scored on a screened wrist shot from the slot at
1:38 of the second period.

The Canucks, who killed off all eight San Jose power plays in
Wednesday's 3-1 victory, cut the Kings' lead to 3-1 at 16:12 of the
middle period as Daniel Sedin got a perfect cross-ice pass at the
right of the crease from brother Henrik to snap a 10-game goal
drought.

Game notes
The MLS champion Los Angeles Galaxy assembled at the
visiting bench during the first intermission and were saluted by
the sellout crowd. Midfielder Mamba Chisoni held the MLS Cup while
riding the Zamboni. ... Canucks C Trevor Linden has not had a goal
or an assist in 19 of his first 20 games. ... Naslund, who was
beaten out by Peter Forsberg for the NHL scoring title on the final
day of the 2003 season, has more points than any player since the
start of that season (191).