Kings get back in win column, snap three-game losing streak against Canucks

In Mikey Anderson's return to the lineup, the Kings snapped their three-game losing streak.

LOS ANGELES – After clinching their playoff berth with a win against the Vancouver Canucks just about a week ago, it was only fitting that the Kings snapped their three-game losing streak with another win over Vancouver.

The Kings desperately needed a win too, with Seattle making up ground and sitting just two points behind LA after the latter’s late-season slump. A Kings loss and a Kraken win would have pushed Seattle into the third seed in the Pacific, dropping the Kings down to the first wild card spot.

Regardless of where they finish in the standings, none of the potential playoff matchups will be a cakewalk for Los Angeles. Finishing in the first wild card spot could line them up against the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild or the Colorado Avalanche, the reigning Cup winners.

Apr 8, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing J.T. Compher (37) handles the puck in front of Los Angeles Kings defenseman Sean Durzi (50) during the first period at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Finishing third in the division would set them up to face either Vegas or Edmonton. Both teams have handled the Kings with ease in recent matchups, though the Kings haven’t quite been at full health in any of those games.

Kevin Fiala hasn’t played since gutting it out against Seattle on April 1st and Gabe Vilardi has been out since March 26. Both players are instrumental to the top power play unit and have helped spread out the scoring among the four lines.

Mikey Anderson did return to the lineup after missing five games, slotting in for Jordan Spence—who was reassigned to Ontario—and taking his usual place on the top defensive pair next to Drew Doughty.

He looked like he hadn’t missed a beat either, accumulating 23:52 of ice time, second-most on the team behind Doughty.

“He’s a hell of a player,” said head coach Todd McClellan of Anderson. “He defends so well, cleans up a lot of mistakes from teammates and brings a physical edge.”

“(Anderson) is a very complete player,” said Phillip Danault. “(He) makes the right play. Very solid defenseman, we missed him a lot.”

The Kings’ depth scoring had dried up during their mini-skid, but Arthur Kaliyev provided relief in the second period with his 13th goal of the season. The line of Kaliyev, Alex Iafallo and Blake Lizotte created some of LA’s best chances on the night, as did the Kings’ fourth line of Carl Grundstrom, Rasmus Kupari and Jarret Anderson-Dolan.

“Arthur has a knack for finding a bouncing puck and being able to bat it in,” said McLellan. “It’s good for him, he’s got some confidence back.”

Apr 10, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Kings right wing Arthur Kaliyev (34) celebrates after scoring a goal in the second period against the Vancouver Canucks at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

It was a grinding affair, with the game speed mimicking that of molasses at times. The physicality began to pick up in the second, with Sean Durzi and Sheldon Dries dropping the gloves midway through the period before Adrian Kempe and J.T. Miller engaged in a tilt of their own toward the end of the period.

“Durz and Juice got us going there,” said goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, who stopped 20 shots en route to his first shutout as a King and his first of the season. It was also his first shutout overall since the 2019-20 season. “The game before (those fights) was pretty even but I think after that, we took off and we were the better team.”

Apr 10, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller (9) and Los Angeles Kings right wing Adrian Kempe (9) fight in the second period at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings would jump on the Canucks early on in the third, with Vlad Gavrikov getting his sixth goal of the season off a pair of nice feeds from Danault and Trevor Moore.

“We knew that (Gavrikov) had those (offensive) skills, but we didn’t know how much he had them,” said McClellan. “His timing is pretty good. He sees holes, he sees openings and he jumps in. It doesn’t cost him coming back the other end for the most part so that sense of timing—knowing when to go (up on the rush) and when not to go is key.”

The physicality continued to ramp up as the clock continued to tick down in the final period, with Vancouver reaching nearly 40 hits on the night. The Kings would seal the deal with a Doughty empty netter with just under two minutes to go.

The Kings need to at least get to overtime in their final game of the regular season, a Freeway Face-off against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, in order to secure the third seed in the Pacific.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x