Dwight King crashes Roberto Luongo's net during the Kings'… (Harry How / Getty Images )
At least there was a certain symmetry to Jonathan Quick's long and winding journey.
His last victory was against Vancouver and his next also would happen to come against the Canucks.
Of course, the yawning gap between the two events was nearly two months for the Kings goalie. Quick returned to action for the first time since Nov. 12 — the long absence was because he had suffered a strained groin — and helped stop the free fall as the Kings beat Vancouver, 3-1, on Saturday night at Staples Center.
BOX SCORE: Kings 3, Vancouver 1
It was the Kings' first win in six games. They rallied from a 1-0 deficit with three third-period goals, one from captain Dustin Brown and two from Jeff Carter, including an empty-netter. Carter has a team-leading 15 goals and Brown scored his first goal in seven games.
Quick, who made 27 saves, was tested early, having to make the splits in the first seven minutes. In the third period, with the Kings holding a 2-1 lead, he had to twice stop the Canucks' Daniel Sedin in the final seconds, point-blank.
“The team played great in front of me,” Quick said. “I had a few rebounds that got away from me and guys cleared them out. Unfortunately, they got a power-play one early. Then we played a great game, created a lot of chances…. We kept fighting and got a couple of breaks.”
Their go-ahead goal came via a sensational effort along the boards by Dwight King, who got the puck from defenseman Jason Garrison to set up an onrushing Carter, at 12 minutes 5 seconds of the third.
The Kings had 49 shots on goal against the Canucks, second this season only to their 51-shot effort versus the Ducks on Dec. 3.
The game marked a milestone for Kings Coach Darryl Sutter — his 1,000th game coaching.
Sutter was his usual low-key self about it.
"It's not a monumental thing for me,” Sutter said earlier in the day.
Even before Quick was activated off injured reserve, there were other developments. Defenseman Matt Greene was a healthy scratch and there was a small trade between the Kings and the New York Rangers. Kings left wing Daniel Carcillo, who has had minimal impact, was sent to the Rangers for a seventh-round choice in this year's draft.
Of more importance, that move gives the Kings more flexibility in creating a spot for one of the youngsters currently in the minors. It could be the first of a couple of additional moves. Left wing Tanner Pearson probably will be recalled soon from the Kings' American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H.
“Danny needs to play so it's a good fit” for the Rangers,” said Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi on Saturday afternoon.
Carcillo had two points in 26 games and had appeared only once in the last eight games.
The Kings acquired him from Chicago in July for a conditional draft pick.
Additionally, the trade means the Kings didn't have to send rookie goalie Martin Jones back to Manchester on Saturday even though he is expected to return there shortly.
They can keep three goalies on the roster for the moment, letting them see how Quick fares after Saturday's start.