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Jonathan Quick returns, Kings win

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On Jan 4, 2014, Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick returned to the team after having missed 24 games due to a groin injury suffered in a game against Buffalo on Nov 12, 2013. It could not have come at a better time. The Kings were mired in a five-game losing streak, and needed a boost.

In front of a standing room only crowd at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, Quick came up big in the big moments, in a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Roberto Luongo was strong all night for the visiting team, and stopped 46 of 48 shots. Quick stopped 27 of 28.

It was also a nice result for Head coach Darryl Sutter, who was coaching his 1000th NHL game.

For a while, it looked as though the Kings' recent frustrations would continue. Despite outshooting Vancouver by a margin of 18-6 in the second period, and 35-19 overall, after two periods the visitors led 1-0.

That would change early on in the third period. At the 1:07 mark, Dustin Brown drove hard to the net, and converted a beautiful pass from Justin Williams.

With the score tied 1-1, Jeff Carter scored the game-winner 12:50 of the third, when he converted a spin-o-rama pass from Dwight King.

Carter would later add an insurance goal at 19:50, after Vancouver had pulled the goalie.

The Kings outshot Vancouver 49-28.

Jeff Carter now has 15 goals, which leads the Kings this season.

The Kings have won all three games played against Vancouver this season, and outscored the Canucks by a aggregate total of 11-4.

Said Jonathan Quick, regarding how he felt after his first game back - "It's good. We got a win. Coming into it that's the only thing we were looking at is trying to get two points, and we found a way to do it. We did it in regulation too. It's a team we are fighting in the playoff race here; it's huge to get regulation wins so they don't get a point out of it."

Quick also made the point that had he not felt he was 100% healthy, he would not have played.

Kings are now 26-13-4 (57 pts), and in third place in the Pacific division behind Anaheim (65 pts) and San Jose (58 pts).

Three stars of the game: 1) Jeff Carter, 2) Jonathan Quick, 3) Roberto Luongo

Kings forward line combinations:

Carter/Kopitar/King

Richards/Toffoli/Frattin

Stoll/Brown/Williams

Lewis/Nolan/Clifford

Defense pairings:

Doughty/Muzzin

Mitchell/Voynov

Regehr/Martinez

*On Jan 1, 2014, Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick were named to the 2014 U.S. Olympic hockey team.

*Kings will have a promotional giveaway during their next home game on Tuesday, Jan 7 vs Minnesota.

Click here for latest NHL Power rankings.

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