Jozef Stumpel recorded his third two-goal game of the season and Donald Audette had a power-play goal as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 Saturday night.
The Kings outshot the Canucks 40-20 and climbed within five points of Edmonton for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot with 16 games remaining for both teams.
Los Angeles held Vancouver to just 16 shots on net until Markus Naslund beat Stephane Fiset high to the glove side with a 20-foot wrist shot with 8:59 left in the game. Naslund's 34th goal, which came with the teams skating four-on-four, spoiled Fiset's bid for his 14th NHL shutout.
The only other time the puck made it into the Kings' net came at 16:13 of the second period, when Brad May's wrist shot from the right circle disappeared into Fiset's pads and the puck crossed the goal line a split second after referee Mark Faucette whistled the play dead.
Rookie Kevin Weekes, 0-7-2 in his NHL career, wasted 37 saves as the Canucks again failed to put together consecutive victories for the first time since sweeping a home-and-home set against Calgary on Dec. 22-23. They are missing Dave Gagner, Todd Bertuzzi and captain Mark Messier with injuries and have won only two of their last 13 games.
Playing at the Forum for the final time and looking for their first shutout in Los Angeles in 97 regular-season and playoff visits, the Canucks fell behind when Stumpel scored his 11th goal on the Kings' second shot of the game.
Audette worked the puck free from the right boards and Yanic Perreault fed it into the slot to Stumpel, who ended a seven-game drought with a 20-foot wrist shot that beat Weekes high to the stick side from 20 feet away.
But the rookie goaltender, who joined the Canucks from the Florida Panthers in the multi-player trade that sent Pavel Bure to the Panthers on Jan. 17, stopped the other 14 shots he faced in the period. Weekes came up wih at least a half-dozen good saves during the Kings' three power plays in the period, including a two-man advantage for a minute and 17 seconds.
Wearing their dark jerseys at home for the first time this season, the Kings increased their lead at 18:18 of the second period while Naslund was serving a slashing penalty. Philippe Boucher was a few feet inside the blue line at the left point when he one-timed a long cross-ice pass by Rob Blake and Audette deflected it over Weekes' right shoulder.
Stumpel ended the scoring with his 12th goal, a 15-foot wrist shot from a sharp angle with 4:02 remaining.
It was the 100th regular-season loss for coach Marc Crawford, who has 170 victories, two conference championships, four division titles and a Stanley Cup to his credit mostly with the Colorado Avalanche. Crawford is 5-12-5 since replacing Mike Keenan behind the Canucks' bench on Jan. 24, following a brief stint as a television commentator with Hockey Night in Canada.
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