LOS ANGELES – Just a few minutes into his first game back from a serious groin strain, Jonathan Quick had to do the splits to make a save.
Los Angeles’ star goalie survived those perilous gymnastics with no problem, and he eventually backstopped the Kings to a skid-snapping win.
Quick stopped 27 shots in his return from a 24-game injury absence, Jeff Carter scored the tiebreaking goal with 7:55 to play, and the Kings snapped their five-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.
Dustin Brown tied it early in the third period and Carter added an empty-net goal as Los Angeles ended its longest skid in coach Darryl Sutter’s tenure with a late rally. They also got a boost from the return of their Conn Smythe Trophy-winning goalie, who hadn’t played since injuring his groin Nov. 12 in Buffalo.
“The team played great in front of me,” Quick said. “I gave up a couple of rebounds, and the guys cleared them out. We kept fighting and got a couple of breaks.”
Quick was selected for his second U.S. Olympic team Wednesday despite his lengthy absence, and the Kings put their $58 million goalie right back in the lineup immediately after activating him from injured reserve. He gave up an early power-play goal, but shut down the Canucks over the final 47 minutes — including two breathtaking stops on a breakaway by Daniel Sedin in the final seconds.
“We know who he is,” Carter said. “First game back, I thought he was sharp.”
Ryan Kesler scored for the Canucks, who lost their third straight despite 46 saves by Roberto Luongo in his own return from a three-game injury absence since Dec. 22.
“We don’t have a sniff of a chance if he doesn’t play the way he did,” Vancouver coach John Tortorella said of Luongo. “I shudder to think what the score would be. So let’s not kid ourselves. The game wasn’t as close as the score. We have a ton of work to do.”
Sutter coached his 1,000th NHL game as his team stumbled home from a winless four-game road trip. Although their scoreless streak stretched to 120 minutes, the Kings rallied to win when trailing after two periods for the first time since Nov. 14.
Brown finally cracked Luongo’s shutout bid on the Kings’ 37th shot, knocking home a cross-ice puck from Justin Williams — and then accidentally kicking Luongo in the face when Mike Santorelli upended him in the crease.
Blues 6, Blue Jackets 2
In St. Louis, Patrick Berglund scored twice, Vladimir Sobotka and Alex Pietrangelo each had a goal and an assist and the Blues beat Columbus for their fifth straight win.
Bruins 4, Jets 1
In Boston, defenseman Torey Krug had two goals and an assist, and Tuukka Rask made 36 saves.
Avalanche 4, Sharks 3
In Denver, Nathan MacKinnon had his first two-goal game and Semyon Varlamov stopped 30 shots to help Colorado hold off San Jose for its third straight victory.
Flyers 5, Coyotes 3
In Glendale, Arizona, Jakub Voracek scored the winner with 8:08 left and Philadelphia overcame a two-goal deficit to beat Phoenix.
Wild 5, Capitals 3
In St. Paul, Minnesota, Ryan Suter scored three goals.
Rangers 7, Maple Leafs 1
In Toronto, Dominic Moore scored twice, and Carl Hagelin had a goal and an assist in New York’s blowout victory over the Maple Leafs.
Red Wings 5, Stars 1
In Dallas, Jimmy Howard made 44 saves and Henrik Zetterberg scored twice.
Panthers 5, Predators 4 (SO)
In Sunrise, Florida, Tomas Kopecky scored the winner in the sixth round of a shootout, and the Panthers beat Nashville after wasting a two-goal lead late in the third period.
Sabres 2, Devils 1
In Buffalo, Matt Moulson and Matt D’Agostini had power-play goals.
Hurricanes 3, Islanders 2
In Uniondale, New York, Jordan Staal and Brett Sutter scored in a 57-second span in second period as the Hurricanes beat the Islanders.
Senators 4, Canadiens 3 (OT)
In Montreal, Clarke MacArthur scored on a power play 58 seconds into overtime to lift Ottawa past the Canadiens.