Chris Higgins scored in a shootout and Eddie Lack make 36 saves as the Canucks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 on Monday night to solidify their hold on second place in the Pacific Division.
The win means the Canucks now have 97 points, four points clear of third-place Calgary with two games remaining. The Canucks can lock in home ice advantage for the opening round with a win Thursday at home to Arizona. Their season finale is Saturday at home to Edmonton.
However, just because Vancouver has some breathing room doesn't mean it's going to take these final games lightly.
"It's really close but we got a job to do here Thursday," said Lack. "These are the kind of teams we've had difficulty with before too, so we have to be really on top of our toes and just take it shift by shift and grind it out."
Daniel Sedin scored in regulation for the Canucks (46-29-5). His goal came on a beautiful pass from his brother Henrik Sedin. The assist was Henrik's 700th of his career and Rogers Arena erupted after the milestone.
"I didn't think it was going to be that big a reaction," said Henrik Sedin. "If you play long enough and you are mostly injury free you are going to reach some numbers."
Dwight King scored for the Kings (39-25-15), who moved into a third-place tie at 93 points with Calgary in the Pacific Division. However, the Flames own a tiebreaker with more regulation and overtime wins this season.
Los Angeles also dropped one point behind Winnipeg for the second wild card entry. The Jets downed the Wild 2-0 earlier in the night.
The Kings have three more games, including at Edmonton on Tuesday night, then a big game at Calgary on Thursday before heading back home to play San Jose for their season finale Saturday.
"We have to go into Edmonton tomorrow and make sure we get two points," said Kings forward Anze Kopitar. "Everything is obviously very important right now."
Jonathan Quick, who finished with 37 saves in regulation and overtime, was as impressive as his counterpart.
"Lack made some great saves, as did Jonathan. That was the difference in the game tonight," said Kings coach Darryl Sutter. "Not the overtime or shootout, the difference was the probably those great chances during regulation."
The Kings jumped out in front only 1:13 in when Jeff Carter skated hard down the right side and threw the puck into the crease where King put it in to make it 1-0.
With L.A. on the power play minutes later for a holding penalty to Yannick Weber, Lack looked sharp as he stoned Drew Doughty on a slap shot.
Quick was equally impressive at the other end, as he stopped a point-black wrist shot from Bo Horvat at the period's midway mark.
Lack was back at it half way through the second, standing tall on a 2-on-1 against Kopitar, who took a dish pass from Marian Gaborik, but couldn't beat the Vancouver goalie.
Again Quick made an equally spectacular save seconds later when he robbed Canuck forward Ronald Kenins from in-close.
The Canucks finally solved Quick shortly after with a goal at 9:54 just as a Vancouver power play expired. Henrik Sedin skated behind the net before backhanding a no-look pass to his brother Daniel at the face-off circle. Daniel fired it past Quick to tie the game.
"We approached it (like a playoff game) and I think they did too," said Vancouver defenceman Kevin Bieksa. "It was two pretty important points to us in a game where we give up the first goal again. It was an exciting game for sure."Suggest a correction