LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nine days after Dustin Brown injured Vancouver's Roberto Luongo in a collision, the Los Angeles Kings captain knew he wore a virtual target throughout the rematch. He even had to fight Ryan Kesler, who will be his U.S. Olympic teammate in four weeks.
Brown survived just fine, and he figured out an even better way to hurt the Canucks this time.
Jonathan Quick made 28 saves in his 27th NHL shutout, Brown scored early in the third period, and the Kings beat Vancouver 1-0 on Monday night for their fourth win over the Canucks this season.
Brown converted on a 3-on-1 rush just 24 seconds into the final period of a fight-filled game for the Kings, who earned just their third win in 10 games. In a game featuring 109 penalty minutes and a handful of fights, Brown landed the only blow that really counted.
"It's no different than any other game," Brown said. "They were upset about what happened with Luongo, but I've been in that situation before."
Brown isn't worried about any Sochi awkwardness after his scrap with Kesler, who dropped the gloves with Brown just 6 seconds into the second period, pulling Brown's jersey over his head and whaling on him.
And in typical hockey player fashion, Kesler also sees no reason they can't still be friends.
"I think he knew from the opening puck-drop that he had to go with someone, with everything that happened with Roberto the last time we played," Kesler said. "We were just sticking up for our teammate. He talked a little bit and then we started to go. ... It's not awkward at all. I know him off the ice and he's a good guy, but right now on the ice he's the enemy.
"He plays the game hard, I play the game hard, but I'd say we're friends off the ice."
Neither Pacific Division rival scored in the first two periods of the Canucks' second visit to Staples Center this month, but both made a steady parade to the box with a combined 103 penalty minutes — already the most in any Kings game this season — highlighted by that fight between American stars.
Los Angeles stayed ahead of fourth-place Vancouver in the division standings, beating the Canucks four times in a season for the first since the 1990-91 campaign.
"We just don't like them very much, so they're always going to get our best effort," forward Jordan Nolan said.