Canucks beat Kings 6-4
For the first 11 periods of their first-round series, the Kings did a commendable job against Vancouver’s Daniel and Henrik Sedin, two of the NHL’s most potent scorers.
The third period of Wednesday’s Game 4, though, was the Revenge of the Twins.
Given open ice, for an extended period, for perhaps the first time in this series, the Sedins factored in three third-period goals as the Canucks rallied from three different deficits to beat the Kings 6-4 before a standing-room-only crowd of 18,322 at STAPLES Center.
The series, tied 2-2, now returns to Vancouver for Game 5 on Friday, and the Kings have to feel as though they missed an opportunity to take a commanding lead in the series.
The Kings held a 3-2 lead going into the third period, but the Canucks scored four times. After a Kings offensive-zone breakdown, Henrik Sedin broke a 4-4 tie with 2:58 remaining and Ryan Kesler added an empty-net goal in the final minute.
The Kings held leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 in the game, but lost all of them. The Kings had a 29-0-2 record, during the regular season, in games that they led after two periods.
``We were expecting a long series against these guys, and they came out and had a great third,’’ Kings defenseman Matt Greene
said. ``They showed what their team can do. They've got a great top line there, and (Roberto) Luongo made some key saves for them.
``That's a third period that we wanted to avoid against them, but I think they showed us what they can do, and now we've got to learn from that, and respect it, and come back the next game with a way to slow them down a little bit.’’
The Kings’ third-period breakdown can be traced to a few moments.
At the 2:30 mark, the Kings got a power play but didn’t score. The Kings’ streak of six consecutive power-play goals had been snapped in the second period.
At the 6:21 mark, Alexander Frolov had a breakaway but Luongo made the save.
At the 7:29 mark, Mikael Samuelsson scored his fifth goal of the series to tie the game.
At the 10:22 mark, the Kings took a penalty for too many men on the ice, and on the ensuing power play, Sami Salo’s slap shot gave the Canucks a 4-3 lead.
The Kings rallied to tie the game just over one minute later, on Wayne Simmonds
’ goal, but Henrik Sedin’s game-winner came at the 17:08 mark. The Kings had the puck in the offensive zone, but Simmonds fell down behind the net and the Canucks started a counter-attack that saw them enter the zone with a 4-on-2 rush.
Henrik Sedin took a pass from his brother, cut to the net and scored on a wrist shot that beat Kings goalie Jonathan Quick
``We ended up with two players behind the net,’’ Kings coach Terry Murray said. ``It looked like Simmonds just fell down, and Kopi might have been waiting for a reverse play. I'm not sure. He ended up standing behind the net, and Smytty is, I think, thinking the same, that maybe the puck is going to come to him, so he is on the boards at the top of the circle. You get caught flat-footed and it becomes an odd rush.
``Now we commit at the blue line, and you have to have a read on that. Just back in. If it's a 4-on-2, just back in and hope that support is going to come.’’
The Canucks outshot the Kings 17-8 and generally looked like what they were, a team desperate not to go home facing a 3-1 series deficit.
``I can give Vancouver credit,’’ Murray said. ``Their best player stepped up at a critical time and made a big play [Sedin’s game-winning goal]. When you have a lead going into the third period, you've got to be able to nail that thing down.
``That's your objective, obviously. Keep playing hard, keep playing heavy and be physical on their players and shut that down and win the game.’’
The Kings couldn’t shut it down, and the Sedins stepped up. Henrik Sedin had the most points in the NHL this season, and his brother Daniel is a potent linemate.
Daniel Sedin assisted on Vancouver’s first three goals of the third period, including the one scored by his brother, and Henrik had one assist in addition to his winning goal.
``They're great players,’’ Kings captain Dustin Brown
said. ``If you give them an opportunity, with the puck on their stick late in the game, to make a play, they're probably going to do it.''
The Kings, the No. 6 seed against the No. 3 Canucks, are not in a bad spot, tied 2-2 in a series that is now essentially a best-of-three. They can point to the fact that they took three leads in Game 4, and already have one victory in Vancouver.
, Brown, Anze Kopitar
and Simmonds had goals but, to be certain, the Kings will be tested as they never have before when they face a hostile crowd in Game 5 of a tied series.
``This is part of the process,’’ Murray said. ``You've got to go through it as a young group of guys, and you're going to face adversity. Again, I feel we have handled those situations pretty well over the course of the year. We’ve shown to be resilient and gritty and bounce back. It’s going to be a big test back in Vancouver.’’
The Kings made one lineup change Wednesday, as defenseman Randy Jones
entered the lineup in place of Peter Harrold
. Vancouver also made one change on defense, as Nolan Baumgartner replaced Aaron Rome.
The Kings entered the game 7-for-12 on the power play this season, and they scored on their first two power-play chances in Game 4. The Kings got the game's first goal on their first power play. Brown tried a backhand shot from close range, and before Luongo could cover the puck, Doughty came in and knocked the rebound past Luongo with 6:34 remaining in the first period.
Vancouver tied the game with its own power-play goal 3:36 into the second period. Alex Edler pass to Christian Ehrhoff, who found plenty of open ice near the top of the right circle and, with traffic in front of the net, beat Quick with a slap shot to make it 1-1.
The Kings took the lead back with yet another power-play goal at the 5:56 mark. After a faceoff scrum, Fredrik Modin pushed the puck to Brown, whose leaning one-timer from the left circle beat Luongo.
More than halfway through the second period, the Canucks killed their first penalty since Game 2 and snapped a 6-for-6 run by the Kings.
Perhaps enthused by their penalty-kill success, the Canucks tied the game 2-2 with 4:25 remaining in the second period. Pavol Demitra took a pass from Ehrhoff and started a quick 2-on-1. Demitra kept the puck and beat Quick with a sharp wrist shot from the right side.
The Kings took the lead back with a 4-on-4 goal, and on a delayed penalty, with 2:51 remaining in the third period. Simmonds passed the puck in front, from the right boards, and Kopitar tipped it in from directly in front of the net to make it 3-2 Kings.
Vancouver tied the game 7:29 into the third period. Daniel Sedin made a sharp pass from the blue line, and Samuelsson's deflection wobbled and beat Quick high to tie the game.
After a strong stretch of play in the third period, the Canucks took their first lead of the game with 7:44 remaining, with a power-play goal. Henrik Sedin passed to Salo, who scored on a one-timer from the high slot.
The Kings tied the game just 1:02 after the Canucks took the lead. Ryan Smyth
controlled the puck behind the net and centered it, just as Simmonds crashed the net and beat Luongo from close range with 6:42 remaining.
Henrik Sedin scored with 2:52 remaining to give the Canucks the lead again. On a counterattack, Daniel Sedin dropped a pass for his brother, who cut to the net and beat Quick with a high wrist shot. Kesler scored into an empty net with 16.1 seconds left.
``We made two costly mistakes, and they are a transition team,’’ Smyth said. ``We have talked about this at the start of the series and throughout the series. They thrive on that kind of stuff, and it showed. We have got to eliminate the turnovers and the odd-man rushes. They do not need a lot of room. Time and space, they take full advantage of that. You have to make sure you are above their third guy, and above the pocket. In this case (on the winning goal), we got caught.
``We have geared ourselves up for a long series. We know it was not going to be easy. They are a fighting team, and so are we. We are geared up. We are ready for it.’’LAKings.com's NOTES
The Kings are now 9-for-16 on the power play in the series (56.3 percent)
...The most power play goals the Kings have ever had in a playoff series is 11 (1989 vs. Edmonton)
...When tied 2-2 in a series the Kings have won the series seven of 10 times
... Dustin Brown
has assists in all four games of the series
... Drew Doughty
has six points in the last three games (2-4=6)
has six assists in the last three games
... Johnson and Doughty are tied with Pittsburgh’s Sergei Gonchar for most playoff points by a defenseman (all have six).
|Three star selections