LOS ANGELES (AP) - Nine days after Dustin Brown injured Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo in a collision, the Los Angeles Kings captain knew he wore a virtual target throughout the rematch. He even had to fight Ryan Kesler, who will be his U.S. Olympic teammate in four weeks.
Brown survived just fine, and he figured out an even better way to hurt the Canucks this time.
Brown converted on a 3-on-1 rush just 24 seconds into the final period of a fight-filled game for the Kings, who earned just their third win in 10 games. In a game featuring 109 penalty minutes and a handful of fights, Brown landed the only blow that really counted.
Brown isn’t worried about any Sochi awkwardness after his scrap with Kesler, who dropped the gloves with Brown just 6 seconds into the second period, pulling Brown’s jersey over his head and whaling on him.
And in typical hockey player fashion, Kesler also sees no reason they can’t still be friends.
“I think he knew from the opening puck-drop that he had to go with someone, with everything that happened with Roberto the last time we played,” Kesler said. “We were just sticking up for our teammate. He talked a little bit and then we started to go. … It’s not awkward at all. I know him off the ice and he’s a good guy, but right now on the ice he’s the enemy.
“He plays the game hard, I play the game hard, but I’d say we’re friends off the ice.”
Neither Pacific Division rival scored in the first two periods of the Canucks’ second visit to Staples Center this month, but both made a steady parade to the box with a combined 103 penalty minutes - already the most in any Kings game this season - highlighted by that fight between American stars.
Los Angeles stayed ahead of fourth-place Vancouver in the division standings, beating the Canucks four times in a season for the first since the 1990-91 campaign.
“We just don’t like them very much, so they’re always going to get our best effort,” forward Jordan Nolan said.
Quick was unbeatable while making his fifth consecutive start since returning from a 24-game injury absence. The U.S. Olympic goalie posted his second shutout of the season and his first since Nov. 7, a week before he severely strained his groin.
“It’s usually like that when you play these guys,” Quick said. “They’re a tough team, and we’ve developed a bit of a rivalry over the past few years after playing them in the playoffs a few times. That’s what you expect when they come in here.”
Eddie Lack stopped 19 shots in his fourth straight start for the Canucks, who were shut out for the first time all season during their sixth loss in seven games. Yet Vancouver left Staples Center feeling good about its response to the physical challenge posed by the Kings, particularly Brown’s rambunctious game.