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Kings Continue Homestand With Battle Against Canucks

(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Kings will aim for their fifth win in six games this afternoon, when they host the Western Conference-leading Vancouver Canucks at Staples Center. The Kings have claimed four of their last five games and are 3-1-0 so far on a six-game homestand that is set to end Monday against Dallas. Overall, Los Angeles has won five of its last six home games and is 20-10-1 as the host this season.

Los Angeles enters today's action with 76 points and the club is in the thick of the Western Conference's crowded playoff race. The Kings are currently tied with Phoenix for the West's sixth seed and the clubs are just one point behind Calgary and one in front of Dallas and Anaheim.

Vancouver, meanwhile, has played to a mediocre 5-6-0 record over its last 11 games, but is still leading the West, and the NHL, with 89 points. The Canucks are four points ahead of Detroit for the conference lead and 12 in front of Calgary for first place in the Northwest Division.

Despite being the top-ranked team in the West, the Canucks have lost both encounters with LA this season. In fact, the Kings have taken three in a row from Vancouver after losing the previous five meetings in this series. The Kings have also won two straight and three out of four on home ice versus the Canucks.

The Canucks recently completed a recent six-game homestand with a 3-3-0 record and are playing the first of five straight on the road today. Vancouver is 17-9-4 as the guest this year and has lost two of three and four of its last seven away from home.

Vancouver was shut out in the final game of its homestand, dropping a 3-0 decision to the Nashville Predators on Thursday. Pekka Rinne made 29 saves to notch his fifth shutout of the season for the Preds.

Roberto Luongo yielded two goals on 28 shots for the Canucks, who surrendered all three of the game's goals in the third period.

"We played pretty well in the first period, but we kind of broke down after that first goal," Luongo said.

Luongo is expected to get the start in net today for the Canucks. He is 10-8-2 with a 2.40 goals-against average in his career against Los Angeles.

Unlike Vancouver, the Kings were on the positive end of a shutout in their last game, as they notched a 1-0 victory Thursday against the visiting Coyotes. Jarret Stoll's power-play tally in the third period was the lone offense for either club.

Jonathan Bernier made 25 saves for his second shutout of the season. It was Bernier's first start since Feb. 24, but LA is expected to go back to No. 1 netminder Jonathan Quick for today's game. Quick surrendered six goals in 45 minutes of action against Detroit in his last outing on Monday.

"There was no message there," said Kings head coach Terry Murray. "Bernier's played very well the last outings that he's had." Quick is 3-4-1 with a 1.98 GAA in his career against Vancouver, while Bernier recorded a win in his only career test versus the Canucks.

For more news on today's game, be sure to read Jewels From The Crown.