The Key Three: April 13
Three key aspects of the Kings' 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks
1. SPECIAL-TEAMS KNOCKOUT
The Kings have found their key to scoring goals: Put Willie Mitchell in the penalty box. It defies logic, really, given that Mitchell is arguably the Kings’ best penalty killer, but twice last night, Mitchell got called for holding, and Dustin Brown scored a shorthanded goal during each of the ensuing Vancouver power plays. To have a chance in this series, the Kings had to be competitive in special teams. Thus far, they’ve gone far beyond that. In two games, the Kings have scored three power-play goals and two shorthanded goals. The Canucks have zero in each category. Give a big nod to Brown for poise and skill in finishing both shorthanded chances.
2. QUICK IN SHUTDOWN MODE
Jonathan Quick played well in Game 1, but not to the extent that he would be seen as a big factor in the game. Not so in Game 2. Quick made 46 saves, and he did it by playing exactly the type of game that makes him special. When Quick retains his athleticism but also tracks the puck well and plays with poise, he is very difficult to beat. Several times in Game 2, the Canucks put enormous pressure on Quick, who made fast-twitch saves and deflections. The defense, for the most part, did a good job of letting Quick see pucks, but several times in the game, Quick had to deal with traffic or deflections, and he never looked jittery or out of position. A big game.
3. THIRD-PERIOD POISE
The Canucks, trailing 2-1, but on a big push at the end of the second period, and they figured to start the third period on fire. It didn’t really happen, though, and that’s a credit to the Kings, who looked poised and confident. The Kings allowed a goal on the first shift of the second period, but they didn’t duplicate that mistake in the third period. In fact, the game went the other way. Jarret Stoll scored a huge power-play goal at the 8:30 mark, and the Kings still kept the pressure on, and got a three-goal lead courtesy of Trevor Lewis’ hard-work goal. The Kings, who had wobbled of late when trying to hold third-period leads, were very strong in Game 2.