Ready to check Kings

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

The media loves Los Angeles Kings Jeremy Roenick and Sean Avery because they're two of the National Hockey League's most controversial quote machines.

But quotes don't win games.

Roenick, with five goals and six assists, hasn't scored since Nov. 22. Avery has seven goals and 10 assists, but only one of those goals in December.

Luckily for coach Andy Murray, the 20-13-1 Kings have offensive weapons like Pavol Demitra and Lubomir Visnovsky to battle the 20-9-3 Vancouver Canucks tonight at General Motors Place (7 p.m. CKNW/Sportsnet).

Centre Demitra has 17 goals and 24 assists while blueliner Visnovsky has eight goals and 23 assists. Visnovsky's most recent pair of helpers came Saturday night in a 4-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes. Ex-Calgary Flame Craig Conroy broke out of a 13-game slump with a goal and two helpers.

Canucks will be tempted to look beyond the Kings toward Wednesday's return of the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton beat Vancouver for the third time with a 5-4 overtime result on Saturday.

Todd Bertuzzi had two goals as the Canucks led 4-2 after two periods. Third period goals by Oilers Marty Reasoner and Shawn Horcoff forced overtime. Michael Peca gave Edmonton the win with 52 seconds remaining in sudden death to spoil goaltender Maxime Ouellet's Vancouver debut.

Ouellet was acquired Dec. 2 from the Washington Capitals for a fifth-round draft pick. Canucks recalled him when doctors sent Dan Cloutier for knee ligament surgery last week. Cloutier probably won't return during regular season, meaning Alex Auld is the new No. 1 netminder.

"Everybody tells me they're happy I'm here," said Ouellet. "I wish I can play good for the team."


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