Hrudey is hero for the Kings

THE Los Angeles Kings broke open a scoreless game with three third-period goals to beat the division-leading Vancouver Canucks 3-0 in the North American National Hockey League.

Kings goaltender Kelly Hrudey stopped 43 shots, including 17 in the final period, for his second shutout of the season and the 15th of his career.

Jari Kurri, Jimmy Carson and Tony Granato scored to end a four-game Los Angeles losing streak against Vancouver and a seven-game winless streak overall..

Kurri's goal 4:42 into the final period broke the deadlock and Carson scored his 27th goal of the season 1:34 later. Granato's goal with 10:35 remaining completed the scoring.

The victory lifted the Kings past the Winnipeg Jets into third place in the Smythe Division with 57 points. The Canucks lead the division with 72 points.

The New York Rangers also rose to third place in their division by recording only their second victory in the last nine games, a 4-1 win over the St Louis Blues.

Ed Olczyk and Alexei Kovalev had a goal and an assist each to lead New York. First-period goals by Sergei Zubov and Tony Amonte gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead and Olczyk made it 3-0 by scoring on a breakaway at 6:17 of the second.

Brett Hull scored for St Louis just over two minutes later to reach the 40-goal mark for the fifth consecutive year, but Kovalev restored the three-goal lead by beating Blues' goalie Curtis Joseph on a breakaway.

The win lifted the Rangers to the top of the three New York-area teams tightly bunched in the middle of the Patrick Division.

The Rangers have 59 points, the fourth-placed New Jersey Devils 58 and the New York Islanders 56, all well back of the league-leading Pittsburgh Penguins, who have 79 points.

Mark Messier had two assists for the Rangers, tying him with Bobby Clarke for 14th place on the NHL's all-time points list with 1,210.