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Kings rout Canucks behind Brown's hat trick

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Captain Dustin Brown had three goals and an assist, and the Los Angeles Kings roared to an early five-goal lead while inching closer to their first playoff berth since 2002 with an 8-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.

Anze Kopitar, Alexander Frolov and Jarret Stoll each had a goal and an assist for the Kings, who have won two straight after a four-game winless streak endangered their playoff position.

With seven goals on their first 23 shots against befuddled Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo, the Kings burst from an offensive slump with their highest-scoring performance of the season.

Los Angeles is seventh place in the Western Conference with 94 points, seven ahead of ninth-place Calgary with five games to play.

Justin Williams and Michal Handzus also scored, and Ryan Smyth led three players with two assists apiece as the Kings snapped a five-game losing streak against the Northwest Division-leading Canucks, who could have clinched a playoff berth with one point.

Vancouver allowed eight goals for the first time all season when Handzus scored on Luongo's misplay behind the net in the final minutes. Luongo stopped just 21 shots while enduring sarcastic jeers on every third-period save for the Canucks, who have 96 points and have lost four of their last six.

Los Angeles led 5-0 midway through the second period before Kyle Wellwood and Ryan Kesler scored in a 39-second span against 21-year-old Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier, who got his second straight start after shutting out Nashville on Tuesday. Bernier made 27 saves after allowing just one goal in his first two appearances this season.

The Kings stuck with Bernier over Jonathan Quick, who already set a franchise record with 39 wins while starting 68 of their first 75 games. Los Angeles coach Terry Murray says Quick still is his starting goalie.

Brown completed his second career hat trick 3½ minutes into the third period, slipping behind the defense for a quick shot past Luongo. Seven Kings had multipoint games against the Canucks, who hadn't allowed six goals since March 5.

Wellwood scored two goals as the Canucks played without second-leading scorer Daniel Sedin, whose back spasms sidelined him for the first time since late November. Vancouver replaced its 76-point contributor with Pavol Demitra, who had two assists in his first game after sitting out four games to be with his ailing wife.

NHL scoring leader Henrik Sedin had an assist for his 105th point, keeping him three points ahead of Washington's Alex Ovechkin.

Vancouver's Tanner Glass blindsided Kings forward Jeff Halpern on a check in the corner during the first period, earning a charging penalty and immediately getting in a fight with Matt Greene. Halpern missed the rest of the game with an upper-body injury.

Stoll then hit Vancouver's Alex Burrows in the upper chest or face with a slap shot during a power play late in the period. Burrows dropped to the ice while kicking his legs in pain, but got up and skated swiftly to the dressing room.

NOTES: Kopitar set a career high with 78 points. ... Brown's four points were a career high. ... Los Angeles had scored more than two goals just twice in the last 11 games. ... Actor Jared Leto attended the game, watching from a luxury box in oversized sunglasses and a garish stocking cap.

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