VANCOUVER – The Los Angeles Kings were unable to catch the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division as they lost to the Canucks 3-2 in Vancouver on Monday night.
The Cancuks collected two points and have won three consecutive games for the first time all season. What makes the three straight victories all the more impressive is that they came against the top three teams in the Pacific Division: Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose.
Tyler Toffoli scored to open the game six minutes in the first period, but a late equalizer by Emerson Etem tied the game as both teams headed into the second period.
Kyle Clifford gave the Kings the lead at the start of the second period, but once again, the Kings allowed the Canucks to tie the game when Jannik Hansen tied the game thanks to the Sedin brothers.
"Ryan Miller was great, but we still have to find a way to put pucks into the net," forward Andy Andreoff, who assisted on Clifford's goal, told Fox Sports. "We need to build some momentum over these final three games for the playoffs."
The game-winning goal came with just 33 seconds left in the second period when Dustin Brown committed a costly turnover in the Canucks zone that led to a breakaway goal for Jared McCann.
McCann easily beat quick to his right as he patiently waitied for Jonathan Quick to commit on the play and blasted it into the top left corner of the net for the game-winner.
The Kings have no one to blame but themselves for the loss, as they outshot the Canucks 42-20. Jonathan Quick made 21 saves in the loss, and Vancouver goalie Ryan Miller made a whopping 40 saves in the win.
Los Angeles now finds themselves in second place in the Pacific Division, one point behind the Anaheim Ducks with only three games left to play. Meanwhile, the Ducks have a game in hand.
The Kings' players have consistently said that it's a goal to win the Pacific Division, but a first place finish means a first round date with the Nashville Predators, a team that beat L.A. 5-2 last month.
As it stands, the Kings would host the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a potentially better matchup for the two-time Stanley Cup Champions based on head-to-head matchups as well as travel time.