Holding a good opponent to one goal but losing a shootout became repetitive for the Kings, who came out on the short end of a 2-1 loss after the NHL's entertaining but absurd tiebreaking procedure for the second straight night.
Mikael Samuelsson, who scored Vancouver's only goal in the first 65 minutes, beat Jonathan Quick on a backhander in the third round of the skills contest to give the Canucks the victory Thursday at Staples Center. It came 24 hours after the Kings fell to the Sharks in the tiebreaker at San Jose.
"I hate the shootout," Kings Coach Terry Murray said, a mantra he repeated several times.
"It's a useless part of the game. . . . Boy, do I hate it."
It's good for the fans, he conceded, but he and his players were looking for better against the injury-depleted Canucks.
The visitors played a smart, conservative game, blunting the speed of the Kings' forwards and giving up only Scott Parse's first NHL goal, a high shot from the inner edge of the right circle at 11:27 of the first period.
The Canucks surrendered few second or third chances among the Kings' 31 shots at goalie Andrew Raycroft, who inherited the starting job when standout Roberto Luongo broke a rib this week.
On the good side, the Kings have given up only seven goals in their last four games, not counting the team goals awarded the Sharks and Canucks in those two shootout victories. The Kings on Thursday blocked 17 shots and let only 15 get through to Quick, a solid defensive effort for the second straight night.
"That's who we are and that's what we're all about," Murray said.
The last two games, though, they've been all about good defense but not enough offense.
"It's disappointing that we can't get wins in regulation right now," Kings defenseman Matt Greene said.
With four wins and the two shootout losses, they've earned standings points in six straight games. The last time they did that was during a 3-0-4 streak in March 2007. They finished October at 8-4-2 with 18 points, matching the second-best point total for the month of October in franchise history, and they moved a point ahead of San Jose atop the Pacific Division, though the Sharks have a game in hand.
And yet . . .
"Obviously, you'd like to win the game, especially at home here," said Parse, who was recalled from Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League last week.
"At least we got one point."
Translation: They settled for one point, and settling isn't something a playoff-bound team can afford to do very often. Not in this conference, with resurgent teams in Colorado and Phoenix and good teams such as Calgary and San Jose making their presence felt.
But settle is what they did on Thursday.
Parse's goal gave the Kings a 1-0 lead. He shot the puck into the zone and finished off an impressive sequence by taking a fine pass off the right-wing boards from Teddy Purcell and firing a high shot from the inner edge of the right circle past Raycroft.
A mistake by the Kings in their own end set up the tying goal late in the first period. Rob Scuderi made a simple pass to Drew Doughty along the right-wing boards, but Henrik Sedin rode Doughty off the puck and took control.
Sedin sent the puck behind the net to Alexandre Burrows, who threw it out in front. Samuelsson, the former Red Wing who left Detroit as a free agent last summer, rifled a shot past Quick from the hash marks at 18:36.
That was it until the shootout.
After the Kings' Michal Handzus shot wide of the net to open the first round of the shootout, Ryan Kesler scored on a wrist shot. Jack Johnson scored to lead off the second round and Vancouver's Mason Raymond shot wide on his turn.
Ryan Smyth led off the third round with a wrist shot that Raycroft stopped and the Canucks won when Samuelsson lifted his backhander over Quick.
"You've got to take away the positives. The team's playing great and we took both teams into a shootout," Quick said of the games against the Sharks and Canucks. "Unfortunately, we ended up on the short end of the stick there, so you've got to just keep pushing, keep doing what you're doing and get back at it."
And get back to realizing that settling for a point instead of driving for two just won't cut it.