Kings edge Canucks for third straight victory

Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles earned a clutch win to creep even closer to a playoff berth.

LOS ANGELES — The Kings welcomed the first-place Canucks to town in their final game of the regular season against a team that is in position to make the playoffs. Adrian Kempe led the way for Los Angeles with a pair of goals in the contest that got him to 27 on the season.

Drew Doughty, Alex Laferriere, Kevin Fiala, and Trevor Moore also managed to provide one score each as a strong offensive performance lifted the Kings to a 6-3 win. Goalie Cam Talbot did well enough at holding Vancouver in check, allowing them to score just once in the first two periods. He did allow 2 goals in the third, but the high-octane attack from Los Angeles on Saturday night was too much to make any major difference.

The Kings walked away with their third win in a row, effectively canceling out their three-game skid that they had endured prior. With a newly claimed one-point lead over the Golden Knights for third place in the Pacific Division and 5 games to play, things are looking promising.

Here are three takeaways:

Moore reaches the 30-goal mark for the first time

For the very first time in his six-year career, Trevor Moore was able to score his 30th goal in a season. After recording his second-career hat trick in the Kings’ previous home game against the Kraken, he kept his momentum rolling with a score in the third period.

He was able to cash in on a beautiful give-and-go from Phillip Denault as he extended the Los Angeles lead to 5-2. With his 30th goal, the Thousand Oaks native makes the 2023-2024 season just the fourth in NHL history to feature multiple California-born players with 30 scores. Additionally, Moore has now recorded four points in his last five games against the Canucks. He has fully embraced his role this season as the team’s leading scorer and will look to lead them deep into the playoffs.

Talbot records his most saves as a King

With David Rittich getting the start in the Kings’ previous game at the Sharks, Cam Talbot had fresh legs for the battle against Vancouver. After allowing a first-period score to Brock Boeser, he would be lights out until the third period. He then surrendered two more scores to Dakota Joshua and Teddy Blueger. Fortunately, his efforts would be good enough to help grab his second consecutive victory and get to 2-1 in April so far. In total, he saved 39 of 42 shots as a relentless Vancouver attack was handled impressively by the 36-year-old. With his 39 saves, he has set a new record for his most saves as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

Throughout his 11-year career so far, Talbot has only recorded 39 or more saves in 22 regular-season games. He did an excellent job at continuing to uphold the Kings’ excellent power-play defense at home this season. Los Angeles boasts the best PK% of any team in the NHL at home this season as well as the best overall PK% in the Western Conference. They have allowed just 14 power-play goals at Crypto.com Arena this season and held Vancouver scoreless through 3 such opportunities on Saturday night. Thanks to Talbot’s remarkable efforts, the team managed to hold on for a huge win and claim the season series over the Canucks 3-0-1.

Kempe tallies 3 points, leads Los Angeles attack

Heading into Saturday’s contest, Kevin Fiala and Adrian Kempe were both even at 68 points this season and tied for the team lead. Kempe would end up reclaiming the lead by the end of the night thanks to a three-point performance that featured two goals and an assist. He first struck just 2:48 into the game as he rifled one in from the right side of the ice.

It was a big score to give Los Angeles the early momentum and set the tone for what would ultimately be a six-goal evening. He then provided his one assist on the night with the team’s next score, which came on Drew Doughty’s 15th of the season. After a quiet second and most of the third period, Kempe would eventually deliver the cherry on top for the Kings to make it 6-3.

With the Canucks on a power-play, he managed to break away and seal the deal for Los Angeles with his 27th goal of the season. He now stands in a second-place tie for the team lead in goals while his 71 total points sit atop the entire roster. Kempe’s season-long ability to provide effective scoring and passing has been crucial for the team’s success, and he once again came through to help Los Angeles keep the good times rolling.

The Kings will now get a couple of much-appreciated days off before traveling across town to battle the Ducks on Tuesday night. With the rest of the schedule looking relatively lighter for Los Angeles, they will look to secure a W against an Anaheim squad that stands ahead of only the Sharks in the Pacific Division. With an official playoff berth just beyond the horizon, the stakes will be high in game number 78 of this year.

The contest is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. PT.