Bryan Smolinski scored three power-play goals for his third career hat trick and Jared Aulin scored his first two NHL goals as the Kings sent the riches-to-rags Carolina Hurricanes to their fifth straight loss with an 8-2 victory last night in Los Angeles.
The Hurricanes, who came within three victories of a Stanley Cup title last season, are tied for 13th place in the Eastern Conference standings and 10 points out of a playoff spot with 27 games left. Only three teams in the previous 32 years missed the postseason a year after going to the finals -- the Kings (1993-94), New Jersey (1995-96) and Washington (1998-99).
Jaroslav Svoboda and Josef Vasicek scored for the Hurricanes, who have dropped 13 of their last 14 games and seven straight on the road. Earlier Friday, they traded Sami Kapanen to Philadelphia for former Flyers No. 1 draft pick Pavel Brendl after Kapanen scored one goal in a span of 25 games.
The Kings' third straight victory, which came in Andy Murray's 300th regular season game as an NHL coach, matched their longest winning streak of the season.
* THRASHERS 4, DEVILS 2: Marc Savard and Vyacheslav Kozlov scored 15 seconds apart in the third period as visiting Atlanta handed New Jersey its first loss in regulation since Jan. 4.
Ilya Kovalchuk and Dan Snyder also scored, and Byron Dafoe made 26 saves in his first game since Jan. 13 as Atlanta improved to 7-2-1 since Bob Hartley took over as coach.
* CANUCKS 4, SABRES 2: In Buffalo, Markus Naslund scored his NHL-leading 36th goal and added an assist to spark Vancouver.
Daniel Sedin, Artem Chubarov and Brendan Morrison also scored for the Canucks, unbeaten in their last five games (2-0-3).
Naslund moved ahead of Mario Lemieux for the league lead with 70 points.
* WILD 4, SHARKS 3: In St. Paul, Minn., Cliff Ronning followed a disallowed goal early in the third period with one that counted 45 seconds later for Minnesota.
Teemu Selanne had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who lost for only the second time in six games.
* FLAMES 4, OILERS 3: Jarome Iginla scored his third goal of the game with 1 minute 8 seconds left in the third period to give Calgary a win on the road.
* MIGHTY DUCKS 3, COYOTES 2: Stanislav Chistov's goal in the second period put Anaheim ahead to stay at home, and Jason Krog had three assists for the first three-point game of his career.
Patric Kjellberg tied it at 1 with his sixth goal 5:56 into the period and 2:41 after Mike Johnson gave Phoenix a short-lived lead.