Canucks beat Kings 7-2
VANCOUVER – Anyone looking to point fingers in the Kings’ locker room Friday, after a dismal 7-2 loss to Vancouver in Game 5, would encounter one significant problem.
Only two hands. Only 10 fingers.
The blame could be directed in many more different areas, but one fact remains: if the Kings don’t turn things around, significantly and quickly, their season will be finished.
After Friday’s loss, before a roaring crowd of 18,810 at General Motors Place, the Kings now trail 3-2 in the best-of-seven first-round series, which the Canucks will claim unless the Kings win Game 6 on Sunday night at STAPLES Center.
``At this point of the year, regardless of whether you lose 7-2 or 3-2, it's not what we wanted,’’ captain Dustin Brown
said. ``We didn't have a lot of things tonight, but we can't sit here and analyze or feel bad for ourselves or dwell on it. We have a game in two days, and if we win it we're right back where we are right now. So that's our attitude.’’
To do that, the Kings will need almost a total turnaround from their Game 5 effort.
The Kings allowed a series-high seven goals, on 30 shots, and trailed 5-1 early in the third period. It got so ugly that starting goalie Jonathan Quick
, pulled in the second period after he allowed four goals on 21 shots, returned in the third period after backup Erik Ersberg
allowed two goals on four shots.
Quick allowed the seventh Vancouver goal and stopped 21 of 26 shots total. The Kings got burned again by Mikael Samuelsson, who scored two goals and now has seven goals in five games. Steve Bernier also scored two goals for Vancouver.
``The big difference (from previous games) is that our goaltending was giving us some big stops,’’ Kings coach Terry Murray said. ``You can't sugar-coat that. The goaltending wasn't good enough here tonight. He had a tough night. I think we screened some of those shots that were coming through. I think there were a couple that were deflected. We've got to be better in front of him, and he has to be better himself.’’
Quick set a franchise record this season with 39 regular-season wins, but finished the year with an eight-game winless streak. He arguably outplayed Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo in the first three games but has now allowed 10 goals in his last two games.
``He's got to get himself ready for Game 6,’’ Murray said. ``Quick is going to go. He's been our guy all year long, and the one thing that I've always liked about his attitude is the mental toughness part of it, that he can move through bad games and get himself prepared to play.’’
Not that the goalies got much help. The Kings struggled to generate any offense in 5-on-5 situations and went almost 10 minutes in the second period between shots. They totaled 26 shots, half of which came in the third period, which they started with a 4-1 deficit.
Defensive breakdowns led to a few of the goals and the Kings, in general, were the less aggressive, less responsible, less accomplished team, by a wide margin.
``I think everybody had an off night tonight,’’ Kings defenseman and alternate captain Matt Greene
said. ``I think, top to bottom, I don't think you can point to anybody in our lineup tonight and say, `He had a great game.' Everybody has got to regroup and everybody has got to bring a better effort next game, and that's it.’’
Perhaps the Kings can draw some motivation from a late-game incident.
With 3:45 remaining in the third period, the Kings’ Wayne Simmonds
and Vancouver’s Shane O’Brien fought. After, O’Brien did a celebratory skate, put his index fingers in the air and beckoned more cheers from the home crowd.
Seven seconds after the ensuing faceoff, the Kings’ Rich Clune
fought Vancouver’s Rick Rypien, and Clune left the ice in apparent significant pain.
Asked, though, about the physical nature of the game, Murray took issue with O’Brien.
``Are you talking specifically about O'Brien acting like a clown after the fight?'' Murray asked an inquiring reporter. ``Rypien was just, that was two guys there. That was just a fight. But you don't need to rub it in at the end of the fight, skating around with your hands in the air acting like the clown that he is.''
After Murray spoke, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault addressed the media and was asked about O'Brien's reaction after the fight.
Vigneault shrugged and said, ``Simmonds had been taunting everybody and pushing everybody. Finally he dropped the gloves, so OB fought him.''
Told that Murray had referred to O'Brien as a clown, Vigneault shrugged again and said, ``I don't care.''
Asked whether Clune had injured himself in the fight, Murray said, ``I don't know.''
That was an inglorious end to the night for the Kings, who actually didn’t look bad in the first period. Michal Handzus
’ power-play goal, with 5:36 remaining in the first period, tied the game 1-1, but the Canucks took the lead for good when Alex Edler scored with 2:28 remaining in the period.
The Canucks added two more goals in the second period and took a 5-1 lead less than five minutes into the third period. Fredrik Modin’s goal, 5:02 into the third period, made it a three-goal game, but the Canucks added two more goals.
The Kings, who led the series 2-1 after three games, now face an elimination game.
``There's always the ebb and flow of playoff victories and losses, and it's going to be a test,’’ Murray said. ``We've got to respond the right way. There's no question that (the Canucks are) coming in hungry now. They're looking to end the series and we're looking to continue it. We'll be ready to play. We're going to be ready to compete.’’
The Kings made one lineup change for Game 5, with winger Justin Williams
replacing Scott Parse
, and the Kings also shuffled lines a bit, elevating Brad Richardson to the second-line center spot and dropping Jarret Stoll
to the fourth line.
Andrew Alberts, a healthy scratch from the previous two games, replaced Aaron Rome on defense in the Canucks' lineup. In goal, it remained the Quick against Luongo.
The Canucks took the lead 8:50 into the first period. Pavol Demitra carried the puck behind the net and the puck came out in front to Kyle Wellwood. Wellwood's shot went wide and deflected strong off the end boards. After Kings defenseman Sean O'Donnell whiffed on a clearing attempt, and before Quick could get back in position, Bernier knocked in the rebound.
The Kings continued their success with the man advantage when they tied the game with a power-play goal with 5:36 left in the first period. The Kings controlled the puck off a faceoff and Handzus carried it behind the net. Handzus' centering pass went off the stick of Canucks goalie Christian Ehrhoff and past Luongo to tie the game 1-1.
Just over three minutes after the Kings tied the game, the Canucks took the lead again. After a scramble in the left faceoff circle in the Kings zone, in which the Kings, and defenseman Randy Jones
, were unable to control or clear the puck, Alex Edler picked up the puck and beat Quick with a wrist shot to the short side that deflected off the post and went in with 2:28 remaining in the period.
Vancouver took a two-goal lead 8:26 into the second period. Off a faceoff win, Samuelsson sent the puck behind the net to Daniel Sedin, who came out front with a wraparound attempt. Quick made the initial save, but Sedin picked up his own rebound and scored short-side to make it 3-1.
The Canucks made it 4-1, and chased Quick from the game, when Samuelsson scored his sixth goal of the series with 6:29 remaining in the second period. Samuelsson's sharp wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle beat Quick high, and cleanly. Quick allowed four goals on 21 shots and was replaced by Erik Ersberg
The Canucks didn't take things easy on Ersberg either. Kevin Bieksa entered the Kings' zone and passed left to Demitra, whose slap shot from the top of the left circle beat Ersberg high and clean at the 4:28 mark.
Modin scored 24 seconds later, though, to make it 5-2. Matt Greene
had the puck behind the net and faked a move behind the net and went to the front. Luongo stopped the shot, but Modin skated in and scored on a rebound at the 5:02 mark.
Vancouver took its four-goal lead back with a power-play goal at the 6:31 mark. Samuelsson fired a sharp wrist shot from the top of the right faceoff circle and beat Ersberg high and clean for his second goal of the game and his seventh goal of the series to make it 6-2.
After the goal, the Kings put Quick back in goal. Ersberg stopped 2 of 4 shots.
``I would love to throw it all on the goalies' lap,'' Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi
said, ``but our lack of structure and discipline and team play gave them those chances. That cannot happen in the playoffs. You have to play disciplined. As boring as it might seem sometimes, you have to do it, because when you give up those chances, to the type of talent they have over there, it's only a matter of time before it's in the back of your net.''
Quick, back in the game after Vancouver's sixth goal, gave up another goal 9:50 into the period. Quick stopped Andrew Alberts' slap shot, but the rebound came out right in front. Steve Bernier beat Sean O'Donnell to the puck and knocked it past Quick to make it 7-2.
Not surprisingly, the game turned messy from there, with the two fights, one cross-checking penalty and a goalie-interference penalty.
``Whether it's a heartbreaker in overtime or a blowout, it's stil worth one game in the series,'' Scuderi said. ``We didn't do a whole lot right tonight, so I have confidence that if we play the right way, we give ourselves a chance to win every night. We have in the regular season and we have here in the playoffs. We just haven't been able to stick that 60 minutes together some nights, and tonight was certainly one of them.''
and Drew Doughty
led the team in scoring in the series with seven points apiece ...That is one point shy of the Kings playoff series record for a defenseman (Steve Duchesne had eight points 1990 vs. Calgary) ... The Kings were 0-for-5 on the power play tonight, but finished 10-for-26 in the series (38.5 percent) ...That is one power-play goals shy of the Kings playoff series record (11 1989 vs. Edmonton) ... The Kings are now 11-5 all-time in Game 6 ...Regular season highlights: 46 wins tied a team record (1990-91 team also had 46 wins) ... 24 road wins set a Kings record ... 101 points was third-most in franchise history (1974-75 club had 105 points) ... Nine-game winning streak (Jan. 21 to Feb. 6) set Kings record
|Three star selections