LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Vancouver Canucks gave up a goal on their opponents’ opening shot for the second straight game, and they trailed 2-0 just 3:14 in at Staples Center.
That sour start just made the rally even sweeter as they surged past the slumping Los Angeles Kings.
Sven Baertschi scored the tiebreaking goal on a power play early in the third period and the Canucks wrapped up a four-game trip by sending the Kings to their third consecutive loss, 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Henrik Sedin and Bo Horvat scored second-period goals for the Canucks, who had lost two straight and five of seven. After Tanner Pearson and Anze Kopitar staked Los Angeles to a quick lead, the Canucks appeared to be primed for another disappointment.
Instead, they methodically came back to knock off the Pacific Division leaders.
“Coming out of the gate, they came at us hot and got pucks in right away,” Baertschi said. “Everything was going towards the net, so there was a lot of chaos. We were kind of caught off guard there, but we bounced back and played a great 50 minutes.”
Anders Nilsson allowed a regrettable goal on Pearson’s shot just 23 seconds in, but he regrouped and made 30 saves in his first appearance since Oct. 26.
“We showed good team character and effort to bounce back from that,” Nilsson said. “It’s not easy.”
Vancouver was 2 for 21 on the power play over its past six games before improbably scoring twice against the Kings, who had the NHL’s best penalty-killing percentage entering the game. Horvat scored the tying goal on a power play late in the second period.
With Kings forward Andrew Crescenzi in the penalty box during his NHL debut, Baertschi took a cross-ice pass from Thomas Vanek and caught Jonathan Quick moving the wrong way for his sixth goal of the season.
“I knew Quick is an aggressive goalie,” Baertschi said. “I knew he was going to push over pretty hard, so I went far side.”
Kopitar extended his point streak to nine games with a power-play goal for the Kings, who hadn’t lost three straight since Feb. 16-19.
Quick stopped 24 shots, but Los Angeles remained winless three games into a five-game homestand.
“We let our foot off the gas pedal there,” Pearson said. “I think (after) we get up those two goals, (and) maybe we took a step back. They got some momentum, and they carried it.”
Nilsson had sat out the previous seven games behind Jacob Markstrom, and he got off to a shaky start when Pearson slipped an innocent shot past his short side. Kopitar doubled the Kings’ lead 3:14 in with his ninth goal of a resurgent season.
Sedin got the Canucks on the board early in the second with a shot that banked in off the posterior of Kings forward Nick Shore. Horvat evened it with a rebound goal after Brock Boeser’s shot, and Sedin also got an assist for the 250th multipoint game of his career.
“They’re a resilient group,” Vancouver coach Travis Green said of his team. “They want to win. They’re down 2-0 in (the Kings’) building, and find a way to win.”
Quick stopped a penalty shot by Brandon Sutter later in the second.
NOTES: Hours before the game, Los Angeles traded Mike Cammalleri to the Edmonton Oilers for fellow forward Jussi Jokinen. Cammalleri’s second stint with the Kings lasted just 15 games after the 35-year-old veteran became frustrated with his role. Jokinen has just one point in 14 games for Edmonton, but Kings GM Rob Blake expects him to provide stability on their depth lines. … Before Sutter’s second-period penalty shot, Vancouver had just one penalty shot against Los Angeles in franchise history: Kelly Hrudey stopped Pavel Bure on Oct. 6, 1993. … Vancouver C Brendan Gaunce returned to the lineup and Alexander Burmistrov was scratched. … D Christian Folin returned to the Kings’ lineup after three games as a scratch. Rookie D Kurtis MacDermid was scratched for the first time since Oct. 23.
Canucks: Host Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday.
Kings: Host Boston Bruins on Thursday.
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