Dustin Brown and Phillip Danault scored two early goals for the Los Angeles Kings, and goalie Jonathan Quick made 21 saves to help maintain the lead in a 2-1 win against the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
The Kings (40-27-10, 90 points) moved three points ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights for third place in the Pacific Division and their final five games are against teams currently outside of the playoff bubble.
Sean Kuraly scored and Elvis Merzlikins made 36 saves for Columbus (35-34-6, 76 points), which was eliminated from playoff contention when the Washington Capitals defeated the Montreal Canadiens 8-4 earlier Saturday.
The Kings took a 1-0 lead at 1:41 of the first period.
The Blue Jackets had the puck in the Los Angeles zone, but Patrik Laine and Jake Bean collided along the wall, allowing Blake Lizotte to take possession for the Kings.
He made a stretch pass up the wall to Brown to spring a 2-on-1 break with Alex Iafallo. Brown opted to shoot from the right circle and he beat Merzlikins on the far side for his ninth goal of the season.
Danault scored for the third straight game to make it 2-0 at 7:02.
Trevor Moore brought the puck into the Columbus zone and passed the puck ahead to Viktor Arvidsson. He passed it back to Danault, who scored his 24th goal of the season with a one-timer.
Danault had not scored more than 13 goals in his previous seven seasons in the NHL.
Kuraly scored 53 seconds into the second period to make it 2-1.
Quick strayed too far from the crease on a centering pass from Gustav Nyquist to Carson Meyer, who slid a pass to Kuraly coming through the slot and he scored into the wide-open net.
Laine had a good scoring chance when he got around Kings defenseman Olli Maatta at the blue line, but Quick made a pad save on his backhand from in close at 4:08 of the third period.
The Kings also had to kill a high-sticking penalty to Iafallo with 2:45 left.
–Field Level Media