VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Down a goal after two periods with their season on the line, the Vancouver Canucks showed they still have a little fight left.
Brad Richardson scored with 1:23 left in regulation as the Canucks preserved their playoff hopes with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.
Richardson took a pass from linemate Zack Kassian at the side of the goal and beat Jonathan Quick for his 11th of the season to keep the Canucks in the playoff chase, at least mathematically.
"That shows the character of the team," Kassian said. "We could have folded once they scored and packed our bags but we didn't. We competed and stuck with our game plan."
Alexander Edler scored earlier in the third period for Vancouver and Eddie Lack stopped 25 shots in his 18th straight start since the Olympic break.
The Canucks would have been eliminated from postseason contention with a regulation loss.
"What do we have to lose, right? (Coach John Tortorella) just told us to have fun and go play and what the hell?" Richardson said of what was discussed during the second intermission.
Vancouver still sits six points back of Dallas for the second wild-card spot in the West with just four games left on the schedule.
"We played hard. We played as a team. We stuck together," said Canucks captain Henrik Sedin, who returned after missing four games with an upper body injury. "That's never been a problem here the last couple weeks and that's a good feeling."
Slava Voynov scored for Los Angeles and Quick finished with 38 saves for Kings, who are locked into the third seed in the Pacific Division.
Down 1-0 after two periods, the Canucks tied it on the power play after Edler's seventh of the season just 66 seconds into the third stood up after a video review.
The Canucks had another power play moments later, but some good puck movement failed to create a clear-cut chance on Quick.
"We have to bear down. We took three penalties and they scored on one of them," Kings forward Marian Gaborik said. "We can't have breakdowns in our zone. We have to get ready and make sure it doesn't happen. We're heading into playoffs.
"These game situations can cost us big so we have to figure it out and make sure we bear down and are strong on pucks in front of our net."
The game was played after a controversial few days in Vancouver that included Canucks president and general manager Mike Gillis seeming to criticize the style employed by first-year coach Tortorella in a live radio interview.