Kings beat Canucks 5-3
In boxing, they call it rope-a-dope. Perhaps there should be a hockey equivalent?
If there is, the Kings pulled it off Monday night in Game 3 of their first-round series against Vancouver. For the first 10 minutes, the Kings absorbed blow after blow and saw two players head to the locker room, and they even gave up an early goal to Vancouver.
When the Kings came off the proverbial ropes, though, it was something to see. The Kings scored four consecutive goals, including three on the power play, and beat the Canucks 5-3 before a standing-room-only crowd of 18,264 at STAPLES Center.
The Kings, the Western Conference’s No. 6 seed, now lead the No. 3 Canucks 2-1 in the best-of-seven-series, which continues with Game 4 on Wednesday at STAPLES Center.
``They're a great hockey team,’’ said Kings defenseman Jack Johnson
, who assisted on three goals. ``We were planning on a seven-game series when it started, and we're fortunate that we're up 2-1 right now. We're going to enjoy it tonight, but we're going to get back to business tomorrow, because we know that the next game could easily go into another overtime. You've got to prepare for that.’’
The Kings went 3-for-3 on the power play, as Drew Doughty
scored in the first period and Michal Handzus
scored twice in the second period to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead. It became 4-1 when Brad Richardson added an even-strength goal and chased Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo from the game.
Vancouver punched back, with goals by Mikael Samuelsson and Daniel Sedin – after an earlier Sedin goal was disallowed after a lengthy video review -- but Ryan Smyth
’s goal, 9:21 into the third period, essentially sealed the Kings’ victory.
``Obviously they are going to be better next game, and we have to be better too,’’ Handzus said. ``It is the playoffs, so you play with a lot of inspiration. We do not want to get scored on. It was not perfect, but we will take a win. That is the most important thing. We got a win and we just have to keep going.
``We are trying to get it deep and play down low. That has been our game all season. It is what we were trying to do today, and for most of the night we did a good job.’’
In recent days, Terry Murray has trotted out a coaching cliche, telling reporters that he knew his players would face adversity but they needed to ``get up one more time than they got knocked down.’’
Murray probably didn’t anticipate how many times his players would get knocked down, literally, in the first period Monday.
In front of a raucous, standing-room-only home crowd, the Kings got rocked early.
Mason Raymond scored 2:08 into the game. Two minutes later, Rich Clune
left the game after a big hit by Steve Bernier. At the eight-minute mark, Smyth got crunched by Alex Edler behind the net and, on wobbly skates, barely made it to the bench.
``They [the Canucks] came out really strong,’’ Kings center Anze Kopitar
said. ``That's the thing we expected, too. It's one of those things where, coming back here after a split, we knew they were going to get out of the gate strong and try to kind of intimidate us, but we pushed back. It's one of those things that happens in the playoffs. There are some momentum swings, and we were able to hold on and then turn it around.’’
After the first 10 minutes, it seemed as though the Kings took the Canucks’ best shot, and the Kings started throwing haymakers of their own on the power play.
Since the Kings shifted their first power-play unit during Game 2, to pair Doughty and Johnson together at the blue line, the Kings have been nearly unstoppable with the man advantage. They are 7-for-12 on the power play in this series.
``We've been working on it a lot in practice and we've been watching a lot of video,’’ Doughty said. When you're seeing the other team's penalty kills, and you're seeing their flaws, you kind of open those up. We've been working on it every day, so I think that's why.
``We definitely found a few of their weaknesses, but now that they know that we found it, they're probably going to straighten those out. So next game it could be a different story.’’
The teams entered the game tied 1-1 in the series, having split two overtime games in Vancouver. The Kings stayed with the same lineup, and had Jonathan Quick
(25 saves) in goal against Luongo (12 saves).
The Canucks took the lead 2:09 into the first period. Ryan Kesler brought the puck behind the Kings' net and fed a centering pass through the crease to Raymond, whose one-timer beat Quick from close range.
Doughty tied the game with a power-play goal exactly 11 minutes into the game. Doughty took a pass from Handzus and brought the puck to the high slot. With Luongo leaning right, Doughty beat him with a wrist shot to the left to tie the game 1-1.
The Kings took a 2-1 lead with another power-play goal, 4:06 into the second period. Johnson shot from near the top of the right faceoff circle, and Luongo made the save but the long rebound kicked out to Handzus, who skated in and knocked it into the net.
The Kings scored their third power-play goal, on three chances, to take a 3-1 lead. Doughty took a slap shot, and before Luongo could cover the rebound, Handzus was there to knock it in from close range with 7:42 left in the second period.
Just 63 seconds after Handzus' goal, the Kings scored again and chased Luongo from the game. Richardson battled for the puck in the right faceoff circle, got control for a moment and turned, shot and beat Luongo with a medium-range shot.
Luongo was replaced by Andrew Raycroft after the goal, having allowed four goals on 16 shots.
Vancouver got back in the game with Samuelsson's goal with 5:07 remaining in the second period. The Canucks' forecheck forced the puck away from Doughty behind the Kings' net, and Kesler centered to Samuelsson, who scored from the left circle to make it 4-2.
The Canucks thought they had pulled within one goal, 3:06 into the third period, but after a video review, officials said Daniel Sedin kicked the puck into the net. The review lasted approximately six minutes, far longer than most NHL plays reviewed in Toronto.
After the game, not surprisingly, Kings coach Terry Murray said he agreed with the call and Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said he disagreed.
``I was surprised they even took a look at it,’’ Henrik Sedin said. ``From my point of view, (Daniel Sedin) comes in (and) hits the outside of his skate -- very questionable.’’
The Canucks scored, for keeps, 1:12 later, as Daniel Sedin scored to make it 4-3 at the 4:18 mark of the period.
The Kings got a little breathing room back when they scored 9:21 into the third period for a 5-3 lead. Smyth took a long-range slap shot from the left side, and the shot deflected off the stick of Christian Ehrhoff and over the left shoulder of Raycroft.
The Kings were 3-for-3 on the power play tonight (7-for-12 in the series) ... The Kings playoff record for most power-play goals in one game is four (2x, Last: May 27, 1993 vs. Toronto) ... Drew Doughty
had four points tonight (1-3=4), tying a Kings playoff record for a defenseman (Paul Coffey had four points April 20, 1992 vs. Edmonton) ... Doughty and Jack Johnson
(both with 3a) tied a Kings playoff record for most assists by a defenseman in a game (done 2x, Last: Mathieu Schneider April 18, 2001 vs. Detroit) ... The last time the Kings led a series 2-1 was 1993 Conference Finals vs. Toronto (Kings won in seven games) ... When leading 2-1 the Kings have won the series four of six times · The Kings out-hit Vancouver 48-39
|Three star selections