VANCOUVER — Elias Pettersson scored his fourth game-winning goal of the season and Jacob Markstrom made 49 saves as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Saturday night at Rogers Arena.
Jake Virtanen also scored his 11th of the year and Tyler Motte had his second for Vancouver (20-15-4).
Anze Kopitar and Tyler Toffoli scored for Los Angeles (16-21-4), which was playing its second game in as many nights after a 3-2 overtime win in San Jose on Friday.
Jonathan Quick made 23 saves for the Kings.
Starting his ninth-straight game since Dec. 10, Markstrom improved his record over that span to 5-4-0 as he earned his 100th career NHL win.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) December 29, 2019
The Kings were 0 for 3 on the power play, while the Canucks were 0 for 1. It was the first time in six games that Vancouver failed to score with the man advantage.
In their first game action after a four-day holiday break, the Canucks looked sluggish off the opening faceoff. Markstrom kept the game scoreless as the Kings recorded the first nine shots of the game, looking especially sharp as he stopped Adrian Kempe on a give-and-go with Blake Lizotte, four minutes in.
Virtanen got Vancouver on the board with 9:38 left to play in the first. He corralled a big rebound off his own shot near the right boards and fired the puck high over an outstretched Quick.
Motte doubled Vancouver’s lead with 28 seconds left to play in the opening frame, following up a Pettersson rush and rifling a snap shot to the far side over Quick’s glove.
The Kings continued to pressure in the second period, with Markstrom’s biggest save coming off a Toffoli breakaway. On the 25th Los Angeles shot of the game, with 8:08 left in the middle frame, Kings captain Kopitar got his team on the scoreboard. He poked a loose puck between the post and Markstrom’s outstretched right foot for his team-leading 15th goal of the year.
Shots after two periods were 30-17 for Los Angeles.
The Kings tied the game 2-2 at the 6:46 mark of the third period, when Toffoli found a loose puck just outside the Vancouver crease.
It took Vancouver just 19 seconds to reply, with J.T. Miller feeding Pettersson off the rush for his 18th goal of the year.
That was enough, as Markstrom stopped 20-of-21 shots in the third.
The Canucks are now 3-0-0 against the Kings so far this season and finish their holiday homestand with a 4-1-0 record. Saturday’s win gives Vancouver 44 points, tying them with the Edmonton Oilers for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Canucks play another important divisional game on the road on Sunday against the Calgary Flames (20-15-5).
The win is Vancouver’s fourth in a row, its second-such streak of the year. The first began against the Kings in the Canucks’ first home game of the season, on Oct. 9.
NOTES: Canadian soccer star Alphonso Davis cranked up the siren at Rogers Arena to start the game New York Yankees pitcher James Paxton, from Maple Ridge, B.C., was also on hand… The Canucks wore their commemorative 50th anniversary `stick in rink’ jerseys…Canucks defenceman Jordie Benn was a healthy scratch for the second-straight game, while Oscar Fantenberg dressed for his 100th career NHL game… The Kings are 4-2-2 in their past eight road games. They’ll return home to face the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.
THE CANADIAN PRESS