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Making Things Right: Doughty rebounds with winner to lead Kings past Canucks 4-3

VANCOUVER — Left red-faced on a highlight-reel sequence he says has only happened one other time in his career, it didn't take Drew Doughty long to make amends.
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VANCOUVER — Left red-faced on a highlight-reel sequence he says has only happened one other time in his career, it didn't take Drew Doughty long to make amends.

The star defenceman scored the winner as the Los Angeles Kings fought back from a one-goal deficit in the third period Saturday to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3.

Victimized by Nikolay Goldobin on a slick toe drag that tied the game 2-2 late in the second, Doughty picked up the puck with the score knotted 3-3 in the third after his initial shot was blocked by Canucks defenceman Alexander Edler, and ripped his seventh of the season past Jacob Markstrom's blocker at 6:49.

"I don't get dangled very often ... only the second time I can remember in my NHL career where I got dangled for a goal," said Doughty. "I was pretty embarrassed and pretty pissed off at myself.

"I was going to do everything in my power to try to help us win that game."

Kings forward Tyler Toffoli, who finished with a goal and two assists, said there was no doubt in the Los Angeles locker-room that Doughty would rebound.

"It's always nice seeing him getting toe-dragged," Toffoli said with a grin. "He says it never happens, but he was saying, too, when that stuff happens he doesn't let it phase him and he comes through with big plays."

Doughty swung his arm in celebration after the goal as the Canucks fumed at the officials, angry that the Kings had too many men on the ice during a frantic change in front of the benches — a grievance that was backed up by television replays.

"Definitely didn't get any satisfaction out of it," said Vancouver head coach Travis Green. "I didn't ask (the referees), I wasn't going to bother."

Marian Gaborik, with a goal and an assist, and Kyle Clifford also scored for Los Angeles (23-11-5), while Jonathan Quick made 22 saves. Trevor Lewis chipped in with two assists.

Troy Stecher and Nic Dowd had the other goals for Vancouver (16-18-5), which got 32 saves from Markstrom. Ben Hutton had two assists.

The Kings improved to 3-3-2 over their last eight games following an eight-game winning streak, while the Canucks dropped to 2-8-1 over their past 11.

Sam Gagner, who had two goals and an assist in Vancouver's 5-2 victory over Chicago on Thursday, rang a shot off the crossbar midway through the third that bounced down in the crease and stayed out on what would be the Canucks' best chance to equalize.

"These are the games where we have deliver more," said Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin. "We were up 3-2. We were playing an OK game. We have to be able to finish it off."

The home side grabbed that 3-2 lead 41 seconds into the third when Dowd, who was acquired from Los Angeles in a trade on Dec. 7, finished off a 2-on-1 by beating Quick with his first.

But the Kings replied just 1:41 later when Clifford — playing just his eighth game of the season after missing 31 with an upper-body injury — banged home his first off a scramble.

"We're always staying in the fight and we never give up," he said. "We have a real strong identity with our group, and when we play to our identity we usually are successful."

Down 2-1 after the opening period, the Canucks started to play better after Hutton rocked Kings captain Dustin Brown with a big hit in the neutral zone, and eventually tied it up on that great individual effort by Goldobin with 2:29 left in the second.

The 22-year-old Russian, who had been a healthy scratch four of the last nine games, stepped around Doughty, and moved into the slot before unleashing a backhand that fooled Quick under the blocker for his second.

"Great players have a short memory," Kings head coach John Stevens said of Doughty. "Not very often that happens. I wouldn't expect to see it again for a while."

Los Angeles nearly restored its lead moments later, but Gaborik hit his second post of the period on a breakaway.

Vancouver opened the scoring at 4:31 of the first when Stecher's shot from the bottom of the circle ticked off a Kings stick and beat Quick upstairs for the defenceman's first.

Los Angeles evened things up at 13:04 when Toffoli fired home a loose puck for his 17th after Adrian Kempe sliced into the offensive zone and found a cutting Gaborik down the left on one of many instances where the Canucks' defence was a step or two behind.

The Kings' power play, which came in ranked 28th overall and 31st on the road, then took advantage of Vancouver's equally porous penalty kill exactly one minute later when Gaborik redirected a pass from Lewis, who hit the post earlier in the period, for his seventh.

"If we're not playing our best game we're not winning hockey games," said Markstrom. "We don't have that team where we can go half speed or 70 or 80 per cent.

"We are so close to winning hockey games, but it's not enough."  

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Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press




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