Brown hat-trick helps Kings crush Canucks

LOS ANGELES, April 1 (Reuter) - Dustin Brown notched a hat-trick to lead Los Angeles to an 8-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, moving the Kings closer to their first playoff berth since 2002.

The Kings roared to a 5-0 lead midway through the second period before the Canucks got on the board sparked by a big night from Brown.

"We had the right kind of attitude in the first period," Kings coach Terry Murray told reporters.

"(We) got some good play and to be able to look up and see the 3-0 score felt good, but you're not comfortable with it."

Alexander Frolov opened the scoring at 5:26 of the first before goals from Anze Kopitar and Brown opened up a 3-0 lead for the Kings (44-27-6), who are seventh in the Western Conference and trail Detroit by just one point.

Brown completed his hat-trick at 3:31 of the final period before Wellwood recorded his second of the night a minute later. Goals from the Kings' Justin Williams and Michal Handzus completed the rout.

TEAM FIRST

"If you started every year asking me if I'd like 30 or 40 goals and be done with my season in April, or have 10 goals and be in the playoffs every year, I'd take the 10 goals," Brown said.

"Everyone likes to score goals, but I'll take winning over anything."

Young Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Bernier made 27 saves as he started in place of Jonathan Quick for a second straight win followings a three-game losing streak for the Kings.

Los Angeles also broke a string of five straight losses to the Canucks by dominating Olympic gold medal-winning goaltender Roberto Luongo who surrendered the goals on 29 shots.

Vancouver (46-27-4) played without Daniel Sedin who missed the game with back spasms and NHL scoring leader Henrik Sedin registered an assist for his 105th point.

The Canucks remained positioned as the third seed in the West by virtue of leading the Northwest Division.

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing Alastair Himmer)