A game the Kings felt they had to win brought out the best in right wing Dave Taylor Sunday afternoon. He scored two goals and assisted on another as the Kings broke a six-game winless streak with a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks before 10,118 fans at the Forum.
Taylor, who returned to the lineup last week after missing 12 games with a sprained knee, has scored three goals in four games.
"It was the best game for me offensively," Taylor said. "I'm just starting to get my wind back.
"But it wasn't me or any one guy who won the game. We had a great team effort.
"We realized that we had to win because Vancouver was only eight points behind us before the game. We were really up before the game. This was a must game for us."
The win gave the fourth-place Kings a 10-point lead over the Canucks in the battle for the final playoff spot in the Smythe Division.
The Kings (26-33-8) have 13 games left in the regular season while Vancouver (21-40-8) has 11 games remaining.
"We just put (the Canucks) out of the playoffs," said King left wing Dave (Tiger) Williams. "They're completely history now. They've got to win every game and we've got to lose every game for Vancouver to make the playoffs."
The line of Taylor, Jim Carson and Williams accounted for three of the Kings' five goals.
Taylor had two goals and one assist, while Carson had one goal and two assists.
"Our line has been the best since it was put together three or four games ago," Williams said.
Said Carson: "We had been playing brutal on the road. We weren't doing anything right, and Vancouver was creeping up on us. We knew that this was the biggest game of the year for us up to now. And I'm just happy our line could contribute. I know it's only one game, but it's great to have a performance like this.
"Before the game you could just feel that we were going to have a good game, and we came out smoking."
Said King Coach Mike Murphy of the Taylor-Carson-Williams line: "They were exceptional all (afternoon). I played them against the Canucks' best line, and our guys responded to the challenge and shut them down.
"But I don't think there was a guy who didn't play well all (afternoon) for us. Our guys made the change mentally. Their careers and the playoffs were at stake. The urgency of the situation created the outcome today. The guys weren't happy with themselves."
The Kings scored twice in the first 3 minutes 15 seconds of the game.
Taylor got his first goal on a power play at 1:38 of the first period, scoring on a rebound of a shot by center Bernie Nicholls. The goal broke an 0-for-12 streak on the power play. Defenseman Steve Duchesne also got an assist on the play.
Carson scored his 27th goal of the season at 3:15 of the first period on a rebound of his own shot. Taylor and Mark Hardy got the assists.
However, the Canucks cut the King lead to 2-1 when center Barry Pederson scored his 22nd goal of the season just after the Kings had killed a penalty.
However, the Kings scored two straight goals to take a 4-1 lead.
Duchesne scored with 52 seconds left in the first period to give the Kings a two-goal lead going into the first intermission. Rookies Luc Robitaille and Carson got the assists.
Left wing Bob Bourne scored off a pass from right wing Sean McKenna, who had just come out of the penalty box, to give Los Angeles a 4-1 lead at 4:16 of the second period.
The Canucks cut that to 4-2 when Doug Lidster scored a power-play goal at 11:39 of the second period.
Taylor's second goal at 1:03 of the third period closed out the scoring.
The Kings play the Buffalo Sabres at the Forum Wednesday night. . . . King center Marcel Dionne received his fourth National Hockey League milestone award in recognition in his playing in more than 1,000 games.