Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Radim Vrbata's third-period goal on an extended power play was the difference in the Vancouver Canucks' 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in a key Pacific Division clash.
Vrbata's game-winner came 4:05 into the third on a 5-on-3 created when Kings forward Tyler Toffoli was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for shoving Vancouver's Alex Burrows into the boards from behind with the game tied at 1-1.
Daniel Sedin and Bo Horvat tacked on empty-net goals in the final minute to seal the Canucks' fifth win in seven games, while Vrbata added an assist on Nick Bonino's second-period score to support Eddie Lack's 25 saves.
Vancouver entered the day in second place in the Pacific, two points ahead of the Kings and one in front of Calgary.
"This was big," Lack said. "If we would have lost this game we would have been tied but instead we are four (points) ahead. This was huge for the race."
Los Angeles received 38 saves from Jonathan Quick in defeat. Marian Gaborik accounted for the lone Los Angeles goal.
The game turned on a pair of Kings penalties just over a minute apart. Drew Doughty was sent off for slashing 3:02 into the third period and Toffoli drilled Burrows to give Vancouver a two-man advantage in which it quickly capitalized upon.
Alexander Edler drilled a slap shot that went right of the Los Angeles net but caromed right to an awaiting Vrbata, who deposited the rebound while camped out near the left post for a 2-1 Canucks' edge.
"We had to score there, it's that simple," Canucks forward Jannik Hansen said. "We needed our guys to step up and they did."
The Kings were able to kill off the remainder of Toffoli's major and had a chance to tie when Hansen was sent off for high-sticking with 6:14 left. Los Angeles mustered just one shot on the power play, however.
Quick was pulled for an extra attacker with 1:12 to go, which led to Sedin's clincher on a clearing attempt from his own zone that found its way into the vacated net with 55.8 seconds remaining. Horvat's crossed the line in a similar fashion with a mere two-tenths of a second on the clock with Hansen in the box again for a high stick.
"(The game) kind of drifted away a little bit," Gaborik said. "They had that long power play there, so that took the wind from us a little bit. We were pushing at the end, but just couldn't score that second goal."
Burrows was down on the ice for several minutes before being helped to the locker room, though he did return late in the game.
The division rivals battled to a scoreless first period in which Quick made 13 saves, but a roughing penalty to Vancouver's Dan Hamhuis 17 seconds into the second enabled the Kings to gain the upper hand.
Anze Kopitar won the resulting faceoff for Los Angeles and got the puck to Doughty, who sent a pass that Gaborik buried over a screened Lack's shoulder just seven seconds into the power play.
The Canucks drew back even when Bonino, skating towards the Kings' net, tipped a puck sent by Vrbata from the right boards out of the air and past Quick with 5:06 left in the second.
Kopitar's assist on Gaborik's goal was his 600th career point ... The Canucks had been outscored by a 12-3 margin in losing the first three meetings of the season series, and posted their first win over the Kings in Los Angeles since Mar. 23, 2013 ... Vrbata's tally snapped a five-game drought for Vancouver on the power play ... Gaborik now has 14 goals and eight assists in his last 22 matchups with the Canucks ... The Kings entered the game 13-1-3 when scoring a power-play goal at home this season.