The Kings stood and waited, and waited, seemingly unsure of how to crack the Canucks’ united front, something that seemed to be a theme throughout Monday night’s game.
In their first game since ascending to the top of the Western Conference standings, the Kings’ offense stalled early, often and in all situations as the Kings fell 3-1 to the Canucks before a sellout crowd at
The loss was especially painful due to the fact that center Jarret Stoll left the game early in the third period with a groin injury and did not return.
``I think he pulled his groin, right there in the middle of the third period,’’
Offensive struggles against the Canucks are certainly nothing new. The Kings have played
Alexander Frolov scored the Kings’ lone goal, which pulled them within 2-1 late in the first period, but
``They're definitely a good team, but those are the challenges that we have to face,’’ Kings forward Anze Kopitar said. ``We're first in the West, and they made the playoffs last year, so we've got to beat this team in order to get there and get that push for that playoff run. To make it there, that's a team we have to beat to go a long way.’’
The Kings put 25 shots on Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, but had little sustained pressure for much of the game. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick made 25 saves and was solid for most of the game and had no fault in the Kings’ 2-0 deficit.
Two moments, both in the first period, essentially sealed the Kings’ fate.
On the first shift of the game, Kings defenseman Drew Doughty had a neutral-zone turnover. The puck came back into the Kings’ zone, and Ryan Kesler eventually knocked in the rebound of a deflected shot, just 1:04 into the game.
At the 2:18 mark, after the Kings failed to show much improvement,
Kopitar said Murary’s message to the team was that ``we're not here just to watch. We've got a game to play.’’
``After the goal, there were a couple more shifts, and we didn't really jump up to the intensity level of the game,’’
``I thought, after the timeout, we started to pick it up a bit. I thought, in the second and third periods, there were some good things happening. We had our opportunities on the scoring side of things and we just couldn't get it done.’’
That led to the second big moment, which started off as a potential positive for the Kings but quickly turned sour.
The Kings trailed 1-0 when they went on the power play with 6:13 left in the first period. Another
Seven seconds after it ended, Kings defenseman Jack Johnson was whistled for holding, and seven seconds after that, Sami Salo scored to give
``Special teams were the difference,’’ Kopitar said. ``It was a one-goal game, and we had the 5-on-3 and we didn't generate anything on that. Then they draw a penalty and they scored five seconds into their power play. That made it a two-goal game.
``Yeah, we came back, and I thought we had a pretty good second period. It's hard when you chase, especially a team like this with a strong goalie and strong defensive play, it's hard to chase the whole game.’’
Frolov’s goal, late in the first period, pulled the Kings within one, and even though the Kings had their moments in the second and third periods, they were outshot 19-13 and were rarely a threat to Luongo.
With the victory, the Kings could have passed idle
The Kings face another game Tuesday at
``Everybody is coming to play a good game now,’’
The Canucks have certainly given the Kings their best this season. They’ve now beaten the Kings twice with Luongo and once with his backup, Andrew Raycroft, and on Monday, the Canucks didn’t waste in any time in handing Luongo a lead.
The Canucks took the lead 1:04 into the game. Mason Raymond took the shot from above the faceoff circle, Mikael Samuelsson deflected the puck and Kesler jumped on it and tucked it behind Quick.
Later in the period, the Kings had a 46-second 5-on-3 advantage, a 1:14 5-on-4 advantage, and generated little. Then, seven seconds after the power play ended, Jack Johnson got called for holding.
Seven seconds later, the twin combination of Henrik and Daniel Sedin worked the puck to Sami Salo, who picked out the top right corner of the net and beat Quick with 2:45 left in the first period.
``They played a good game,’’ Quick said of the Canucks. ``They worked the cycle, and the Sedins are two of the best in the league at that cycle they do. We didn't come out as strong as we wanted to. We didn't play that first 20 as well as we wanted to.
``It's not an easy task, coming into this rink and taking control in the first period, but you still have to compete and fight off that wave of momentum that they throw at you right at the beginning. We didn't do a great job of handling that.’’
The Kings stayed in the game, though. Just 2:28 after the Canucks took a two-goal lead, Jones took a point shot that Luongo stopped, but the rebound hopped into the slot and Frolov knocked the puck past Luongo with 17 seconds remaining in the first period.
The Canucks took a two-goal lead with 5:12 remaining in the third period when Kesler made a quick pass to his left, from the slot, and Raymond skated it, cut to the front of the net and slipped the puck five-hole on Quick.