Canucks face L.A., hope break doesn’t cool their fire

NHL Hockey

The Vancouver Canucks are riding some momentum as they return from the holiday break Saturday night to face the visiting Los Angeles Kings.

The Canucks won three straight heading into the break, including a 4-2 home victory against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night.

“It’s December right now. We can’t get ahead of ourselves. We’re still looking in, I think,” Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom said, referring to a playoff spot.

The Canucks are tied for 10th place in a tight Western Conference, but just two points back of the final playoff spot.

Rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period against Edmonton, and captain Bo Horvat notched his 10th goal of the season — remarkably, his first at home.

“I think we proved a lot,” Horvat told NHL.com. “We played some pretty good hockey as of late; it was just a matter of us getting rewarded. Different guys stepped up at different times, and in crucial times. To get three wins before Christmas, we’ve got to keep that confidence going.”

Forward Tyler Motte scored just moments following a faceoff win after the puck deflected off a linesman’s leg and right back to him for a one-timer.

“Winning fixes a lot of things,” Motte told NHL.com. “As a group, we stuck together. We knew we had what it took in here; we just had to polish a few things up. When we play our game, we’ve seen it the last couple nights, we’re good.”

The Kings returned from the break with a 3-2 overtime victory at San Jose on Friday night, moving them out of a tie with the Sharks for last place in the conference.

Martin Frk, making his Kings debut, scored two third-period goals, and Jeff Carter got the winner in overtime. It was the first time this season the Kings won after trailing after two periods, after being 0-18-1 in that situation.

“I got lucky,” Frk said. “I was twice in the good spot and it went in, so I’m really happy for that, couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Frk, 26, signed as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, was recalled from nearby Ontario, Calif., of the American Hockey League on Friday. He was playing in his 101st career NHL game, having appeared in 98 with Detroit and two with Carolina.

“Nice to see Marty Frk come up and contribute, use his tools,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “That shot that he has and the ability to find ice was real important, and a good aggressive play in overtime got us the win.”

Jack Campbell made 22 saves as the Kings snapped a three-game skid (0-2-1).

The Kings will be without center Trevor Lewis against Vancouver, as he was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, retroactive to Dec. 21. Fellow forward Dustin Brown didn’t make the trip because of an illness.

–Field Level Media

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