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Kings in a groove, have rematch with Canucks

Mar 3, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Phillip Danault (24) is congratulated by goaltender Cam Talbot (39) after scoring a hat trick in the third period against the New Jersey Devils at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks won’t have to wait long for a rematch with the Los Angeles Kings.

Five days after the Canucks were soundly beaten by the Kings in Vancouver, the teams will meet again in Los Angeles on Tuesday night.

In the first of four meetings over a six-week span, Los Angeles trounced the Canucks 5-1 last Thursday to salvage a win out of its three-game road trip. The Kings then returned to Los Angeles to begin a season-long five-game homestand and played just as well in a 5-1 win against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday.

“The last two games, especially, we had some steps in the right direction, just making the other team frustrated,” Los Angeles winger Kevin Fiala said. “There’s a good feeling in the locker room. Just winning the games and being inside the locker room at intermissions, it’s just a good feeling to win games. We’ve got to, hopefully, keep that going.”

Phillip Danault, who recorded his second NHL hat trick against the Devils, echoed Fiala’s feelings.

“We played the right way and we got rewarded — that’s what we’re seeing with our team right now,” Danault said. “We’ve just got to do the little details. It’s a little harder, it’s a little more demanding, but it pays off.”

Kings goaltender Cam Talbot has started the past three games and should be back in the crease against the Canucks, based on his play in the past two games when he stopped a combined 53 of 55 shots.

Talbot had a 1.86 goals-against average and .938 save percentage in four starts in February, compared to a 4.28 GAA and .873 save percentage in eight starts in January.

His play last month was more reminiscent of how he performed in November, when he posted a 1.64 GAA and .941 save percentage in eight starts.

“You don’t forget how to play the position. Sometimes it’s just between the ears and you’ve just got to get that confidence back,” Talbot said. “Once you get a win, it starts to snowball a little bit.”

The Canucks bounced back from their loss to Los Angeles by edging the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 in the opener of their three-game trip on Sunday.

“That team has had a lot of comebacks this season and now we have to be ready for L.A.,” Vancouver forward Conor Garland said after scoring the game-winning goal in the second period against Anaheim. “The Kings beat us pretty bad (on Thursday).”

Thatcher Demko will likely be back in goal against the Kings after Casey DeSmith stopped 17 of 18 shots against Anaheim in his first start since Feb. 19.

Canucks right wing Vasily Podkolzin should see his name in the lineup for a second straight game after he played well in his season debut against the Ducks. Podkolzin, the 10th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft by Vancouver, did not record a shot on goal in 12:39 but displayed solid possession skills.

“There were some good moments of holding on to pucks,” Vancouver coach Rick Tocchet said. “With a couple of systems stuff, he’ll be fine. If he holds on to pucks and gets on the forecheck, that’s something we’re looking for.”

The Canucks might also be getting closer to full strength on defense.

Vancouver optioned defenseman Matt Irwin back to Abbotsford of the American Hockey League, indicating Carson Soucy is ready to return from a six-week absence because of a broken hand.

–Field Level Media

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