VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -Jason Labarbera put on a show in front of his hometown crowd.
Labarbera stopped 43 shots and the Los Angeles Kings beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 on Saturday night.
The Kings won for the fourth time in five games, rebounding after a disappointing 6-1 loss to the Calgary Flames one night earlier.
|The Kings Jack Johnson fires the puck past the Canucks Roberto Luongo. Los Angeles won, 4-3, in Vancouver on Saturday. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)|
Labarbera, who was born and raised in the Vancouver area, was pulled from that contest after giving up five goals.
He had to be sharp early on against the Canucks, robbing Henrik Sedin and then Taylor Pyatt from point blank range on the first shift of the game, then turning around and stopping Alexandre Burrows on a breakaway the next shift.
That's the kind of night it was for Labarbera, with pucks coming at him from all angles.
"It's fun as long as the puck is hitting you," Labarbera said. "I felt good out there tonight. Obviously, for me it's a big thrill for me to play in Vancouver. I'm a B.C. kid who grew up watching the Canucks, so for me to play well here is a huge thing for me."
It didn't hurt that he bounced right back from a subpar performance the night before.
"I really didn't feel like I played that bad last night, things just didn't go our way," Labarbera said. "As a team we knew we had to refocus and regroup. I felt like if I gave the team a chance to win they would find a way to come up with a victory and the guys managed to score a few goals for me."
Los Angeles built up a three-goal lead and then hung on when the Canucks battled back within a goal two times. Vancouver outshot the Kings 46-24, but was unable to draw even.
Vancouver came out flying in the early going and could easily have had a three-goal lead if not for the goaltending of Labarbera.
"Barbs has been playing well for us. He's been making saves like that for us all the time," Kings right winger Dustin Brown said. "He weathered the storm for us early but he really played well the whole game. He gave us the chance to win and that's really all you can ask from him."
Jack Johnson gave the Kings the lead midway through the first period, stepping up from the point and firing a slapshot that overpowered Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo.
The goal was just the second of Johnson's career, both coming at GM Place against the Canucks.
Scott Thornton made it 2-0 just 2 minutes into the second period with his fourth of the year. Four minutes later, Dustin Brown gave the Kings a three-goal lead when he beat Luongo for his 24th of the season.
The Canucks were guilty of poor defensive zone coverage on both goals.
"We were sloppy at times in our end, giving up plays that we don't usually give up," defenseman Mattias Ohlund said. "We scored three goals that should have been enough to win the game but we gave up some goals that we shouldn't have and usually don't."
Vancouver came back with two goals before the second period was over. Brad Isbister and Trevor Linden both beat Labarbera.
Alexander Frolov's 10th of the year restored the Kings two-goal lead with 7:40 to play in the third period.
Mason Raymond made it a one-goal game again with just under 4 minutes to play, stepping in front of a poor clearing attempt by Jaroslav Modry and ripping the puck past a startled Labarbera.
The Kings have won three straight over the Canucks this year, outscoring them 12-7.
Notes: LW Ladislav Nagy (sore neck) was a late scratch for the Kings. Nagy had 12 points in the 12 games he has played since returning from a hip flexor on Dec. 22. ... RW Brian Willsie (back) missed his second straight game and D Willie Mitchell missed his first game of the year for the Canucks with a sore back. Mitchell is day-to-day. ... The Canucks honored C Markus Naslund prior to the game for playing 1000 NHL games. Naslund reached the milestone on Thursday in Detroit.