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.
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."
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.
“I think we worked pretty good, we generated 46 shots and we can’t do that by standing still,” said Markus Naslund. “But I think the mistakes are what we need to cut out. I think we were turning pucks over way too many times and not only that, we’re giving up quality chances and it cost us tonight.”
Vancouver came out flying in the early going and could easily have had a three-goal lead if not for the goaltending of Labarbera.
“We had the start that we wanted and we had the right players getting the scoring chances, we just couldn’t get anything past their goaltender,” said Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault. “I like the fact that our guys buckled down and battled really hard, but the difference tonight was goaltending. Their goaltender was outstanding.
“This was one of our best nights and defensively we only gave up 11 scoring chances; we played an overall very solid game and the difference was their goaltender.”
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.
| Jason LaBarbera
Backstopped his team to a victory stopping 43 of 46 shots.
| Alexander Frolov
Scored the game winner late in the third period, and finished with one goal and one assist.
Had one goal and 4 shots, playing on Vancouver’s most effective line.
"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.
“They’re in last place in the conference and they beat us all three games, so I don’t have much to say about that,” said a frustrated Luongo. “We’ve lost five of six so I don’t think our confidence is so high right now, but in situations like that you just have to work hard and make sure that you do things right in practice and they carry over in the game.”
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.