November 07, 2014

The Los Angeles Kings have finally ceded the top spot in the Pacific Division to a rampaging opponent that has dominated them of late.

They've mostly handled Vancouver over the past three seasons, though, and Los Angeles looks to bounce back when it hosts the Canucks on Monday night.

The Kings (38-22-4) saw what was once a 16-point lead over Anaheim fully erased Saturday, losing 3-2 to the visiting Ducks as their city-area rivals moved two points ahead in the Pacific. Anaheim has gone 18-1-1 since being 16 back Jan. 20, while Los Angeles is 9-9-1 in that span.

Los Angeles has dropped 11 of the past 13 regular-season meetings with its chief rival in the division.

"Every win and loss is a matter of home ice in the playoffs, so yes, we do realize what's at stake here," center Anze Kopitar told the team's official website. "We fell behind here today and we're going to have to catch up ground."

Penalty killing continued to be a problem for the Kings. They allowed the Ducks to go 2 for 2 on the power play and have given up five goals in nine chances with the man advantage over the past three games - a 1-2-0 stretch that's followed a four-game win streak.

Los Angeles has killed off 76.8 percent of short-handed situations since Jan. 20 - one of the league's worst marks in that span.

''The majority of the time, special teams are the difference. And that wasn't any different today,'' Kopitar said.

The level of offensive production also wasn't any different. The Kings have scored 17 times in their last 10 contests.

Both of their goals came on the power play, but they lost despite a 34-22 shot advantage. Jonathan Quick, expected to start again Monday, made 19 saves and has posted a 3.06 goals-against average and .864 save percentage in his last three outings.

His numbers are considerably better against the Canucks (25-27-2), with a 1.64 GAA in 29 career regular-season matchups and 1.07 mark in the past 13 - a stretch in which he's posted three shutouts and hasn't allowed more than two goals. Quick made 27 saves in a 5-0 victory at Vancouver on Dec. 28, the Kings' ninth win in 13 meetings.

Vancouver, though, brings a dangerous power play into Monday, having scored three times in seven chances to snap a three-game skid with a 4-2 win at San Jose on Saturday. Dan Hamhuis scored the final one with the man advantage in the third period for the Canucks, who recorded just their third game of more than two goals in the past 11.

Vancouver generated only 11 power plays over the previous six games, though it's gone 9 for 26 in the last nine.

"It was exactly what we talked about before the game," Hamhuis told the team's website. "We were only drawing one or two penalties a game. We need teams to start getting frustrated with us and skating where they are forced to take penalties. I thought our guys did a really good job of that tonight."

The victory, though, was tempered by the loss of captain Henrik Sedin, who suffered an upper-body injury early in the first period after taking a forearm to the chest. Sedin took his next shift but played only 3:36 in the first and did not come out for the second.

Vancouver also lost defenseman Christopher Tanev in the third to an injury.

"I have to talk to them to make sure, but I don't think Hank will be with us in L.A.," coach Willie Desjardins said.

The Canucks have gone 2-0-1 in their last three at Staples Center.

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