Persistent Kings make Canucks pay

Watch highlights
Watch highlights
Special to FOX Sports Happy Kreter
Share This Story


The old cliché goes something like this: “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” That aptly describes the performance of the Los Angeles Kings, who defeated the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks 4-2 on Wednesday in Game 1 of their Stanly Cup playoff series thanks to a lucky bounce and a last-minute goal by Dustin Penner.

Despite dominating the opening 40 minutes, the Kings found themselves tied with the home team headed into the third period. It wasn’t until the game’s final minutes that L.A.’s persistence paid off, with Penner finding the puck on his stick after an unusual bounce of Jeff Carter’s skate. The hulking power forward easily popped his shot behind a sprawling Roberto Luongo.

“We worked hard for 60 minutes tonight and things worked out for us,” Penner said. “It was a bit nerve-wracking. You can’t get frustrated, but I’m not as worried about getting frustrated as I am about letting one get away.”

One of the biggest reasons the game didn’t get away from the Kings was Mike Richards, who led all scorers with a goal and two assists. One of those assists was key in setting up Penner’s game-winner.

Richards intercepted Alex Edler’s clearing attempt and passed to Carter, who directed the puck with his skate to Penner.

“That was just a bad pass by me and a good play by [Carter],” Richards explained. “To tell you the truth, I just got lucky. The puck hit me, ended up on my stick, I made a bad pass, and somehow it ended up in the net, so it was a lucky break. But obviously we’ll take it. You get breaks with hard work.”

Richards was the first King to find the back of the net when he scored a power play goal from a sharp angle to tie the game in the first period. It was a goal Luongo would like back, having otherwise played an outstanding game with 35 saves on the night.

The Richards goal was the first sign of the role that special teams would play in the game. The Canucks took 27 minutes in penalties, putting Los Angeles on the power play eight times, including once for five minutes following a major penalty to Byron Bitz. Bitz hit Kyle Clifford from behind, sending the Kings forward head-first into the boards. Clifford left the game and did not return, while Bitz received a game misconduct.

NHL Playoff Central


Stay up to date with all the NHL's latest at Playoff Central.

Los Angeles made Vancouver pay for their lack of poise by taking the lead on a power-play goal from ex-Canuck Willie Mitchell, whose point shot beat a screened Luongo.

The Kings were 2 of 8 with the man advantage, while the Vancouver power play came up dry in all five opportunities.

That said, the Canucks’ first goal looked very much like a power play marker. Alex Burrows fired a shot from the slot past Jonathan Quick just as a penalty to Jarret Stoll expired.

Although they were soundly outplayed in the first two periods, the Canucks hung around to keep things close. With 8 seconds left in the second period, Edler flipped a shot towards the LA net that deflected off Dustin Brown’s stick and in. Brown later earned some redemption by potting an empty-net goal in the final seconds, but the Edler goal was the type of deflating moment that could have signaled doom for the Kings.

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, who led all skaters with more than 28 minutes of ice time, spoke about how things might have been.

“It would have been tough to lose after dominating the first two periods,” Doughty said. “We played a pretty good game, but at the same time, we’ve got a lot of room to improve. We did feel like we were dominating at times, but they were giving it back to us, too. They got some scoring opportunities and Quickie made some big saves, so we need to limit those and create some more for ourselves.”



Was Aroldis Chapman's postgame celebration the dumbest ever? Watch it at Yardbarker.

Doughty and Richards were involved in some obviously nasty trash talk with the likes of Burrows and Canucks agitator Maxim Lapierre. The colorful character of the Vancouver squad is bound to be part of the storyline any time the postseason rolls around, but Doughty welcomes pesky Canucks antics.

“One of the things they like to do is get under the other team’s skin,” Doughty said. “But I know for me and Richie, we thrive with those kind of things. The more they try to go after us, the better we’re going to play, so it just helps our team.”

Doughty and his teammates aren’t making too much of the win. They know the Canucks, winners of the President’s Trophy as the NHL’s best regular season team, will be fired up to earn the home-ice split in Friday’s game.

“It’s such a long series," Doughty said. "It could go to seven games, and even though we got this first one, which is obviously huge, we’ve got to win three more. Now it goes into Game 2. They’re going to reset. We’ve got to reset. It’s going to be a completely different game.”

Tagged: Kings, Canucks, Roberto Luongo, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Dustin Brown, Dustin Penner, Byron Bitz, Drew Doughty

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt