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Quick stops 19 shots in 5th shutout of season; Kings top Canucks 4-0

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Los Angeles Kings served noticed that they have the Vancouver Canucks in their sights.

Jonathan Quick made 19 saves for his fifth shutout of the season, and Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar each had a goal and an assist, as the Kings beat the Canucks 4-0 on Thursday night.

The Kings, 3-0 against the Canucks this season with two meetings remaining, jumped over Winnipeg and into the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Jets lost 4-2 at Florida earlier Thursday.

Eddie Lack made 16 saves for the Canucks, who are second in the Pacific Division. Both the Kings and Calgary Flames are just one point back.

"The closer you get to playoffs the more you want to be in it," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "We're not going to accept anything but to be in it, and right now Vancouver is one of those teams in our way, second in the division.

"We still have a really good shot at being in that spot."

Tyler Toffoli and Marian Gaborik also scored for Los Angeles, which has won four of five and 12 of 16.

That surge has pushed the defending Stanley Cup champions up in the standings after they were 13th in the West in early February.

"We circle these ones that are division games, especially since we're on the bubble," Williams said. "These are huge games. Vancouver is in our way if we want to try to make the playoffs, and they still are."

A big reason for the Kings' turnaround has been their play on the road. They were 5-12-6 away from home as of Feb. 5, but are 7-2 since.

"I think the games just got more important," said Doughty, whose team plays nine of its last 15 on the road. "I think the guys were sick of talking about why we were doing so bad on the road, so we decided to turn it around and start winning some."

PHOTO: Los Angeles Kings right wing Justin Williams (14) celebrates his goal with teammates Nick Shore (37) and Brayden McNabb (3) during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, March 12, 2015, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)
Los Angeles Kings right wing Justin Williams (14) celebrates his goal with teammates Nick Shore (37) and Brayden McNabb (3) during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, March 12, 2015, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)

The Canucks generated very little against Quick after the first period.

"They showed why they win the Cups," Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins said. "They had a lot of patience. They had a lot of presence."

Los Angeles opened the scoring with 3:19 left in the first period when Toffoli took a pass at the bottom of the left circle during a power play and put a perfect shot up and over Lack's shoulder for his 20th of the season and first in 10 games.

The Kings doubled their lead 3:59 into the second thanks to a bad change and some suspect defensive zone coverage from the Canucks.

Los Angeles defenseman Brayden McNabb took the puck down the boards unchallenged and found a wide-open Williams, who had circled the Vancouver net and was left alone to tap his 17th goal of the season past a helpless Lack.

"I thought we lost the goaltending (battle)," Lack said. "I thought we lost special teams, and that's two huge parts of our game. Didn't come up in those two areas.

"When you give them two or three, it's going to be hard to come back."

It marked the fifth time in six games the Canucks have trailed 2-0. They pushed back a little after Williams' goal, but rarely threatened to get anything past Quick, who earned his 36th NHL shutout.

The Kings put the game out of reach 25 seconds into the third when Kopitar intercepted a poor clearing attempt by defenseman Dan Hamhuis and beat Lack short-side for his 14th goal.

The Kings kept the Canucks away from their net until Quick snagged Daniel Sedin's shot with 9:35 left. Gaborik then scored his 21st goal into an empty net with 4:24 remaining.

"I want to keep climbing," Williams said. "It's been a long season so far and we've turned it around here a little bit, but we know there's a long way to go, a lot of games left.

"A lot can happen and we're going to keep trending in the right direction."

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PHOTO: Los Angeles Kings right wing Justin Williams (14) celebrates his goal with teammates Nick Shore (37) and Brayden McNabb (3) during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, March 12, 2015, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)
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