Dustin Brown and the Los Angeles Kings got a lot more out of Vancouver’s power plays than the top-seeded Canucks.
Brown tied an NHL playoff record with two short-handed goals, Jonathan Quick made 46 saves and the Kings beat the Canucks 4-2 on Friday night to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round series.
Brown had the two-goal game two nights after capping the Kings’ 4-2 Game 1 victory with an empty-net goal.
”They’re huge goals,” Brown said. ”Special teams is a big part of playoff hockey, and it’s not often you are going to see two short-handed goals like that.”
The right winger opened the scoring with 9 seconds left in the first period, and gave the Kings a 2-1 lead at 5:17 of the second. Brown became the 12th player – Wayne Greyzky did it twice – to score two short-handed goals in a playoff game.
In addition to giving up the two short-handed goals, Vancouver was 0 for 5 on the power play.
”Five-on-5 we played well,” Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. ”The power play is not good enough right now. Not only are we not scoring, but we’re giving up goals. That can’t happen.”
Jarret Stoll added a power-play goal for the Kings at 8:30 of the third, a goal originally credited to Brown, and Trevor Lewis made it 4-1 with 5:09 left.
”You need big performances at this time of year,” Brown said. ”It’s important for us to understand where we’re at and hit the reset button.”
Quick made 22 saves in the third period, allowing only Samuel Pahlsson’s goal with 3:38 to play.
”He’s a younger guy, doesn’t have much experience,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. ”He’s no different than our other young skaters. They’re still learning lots about it, and they’re doing a good job of it.”
Jannik Hansen also scored for Vancouver, the Presidents’ Trophy winner as the NHL regular-season points leader.
Game 3 is Sunday night in Los Angeles.
The game got off to another raucous start when Vancouver’s Alex Burrows jabbed at the puck while it was under Quick’s glove 30 seconds in. After the whistle, Quick got up and threw the puck at Burrows.
Brown gave the Kings the lead in the final seconds of the period. Anze Kopitar intercepted Alex Edler’s drop pass in the Vancouver end, cut in front of the net and tried to deke Roberto Luongo, but the goalie kicked the puck out and got caught up in a pile of Vancouver players. Brown promptly shot the puck into the vacant net with former Canucks forward Willie Mitchell off for holding.
”It’s just execution. Execution and communication,” Canucks forward Ryan Kesler said. ”We’ve got to forget about what just happened and worry about the next game.”
Hansen tied it 17 seconds into the second period, deflecting Henrik Sedin’s wrist shot past Quick.
However, with Mitchell in the box again for holding, Brown scored on a short-handed breakaway 5 minutes later. The breakaway came after Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis fell while trying to field a back pass from partner Kevin Bieksa at the Los Angeles blue line.
”They’re momentum killers,” Bieksa said about the short-handed goals. ”You go out on the power play looking to generate chances. A couple of unfortunate plays and it’s in the back of our net.”
In the third, Stoll jammed the puck in from close range during a power play, and Lewis scored on a wraparound. Pahlsson completed the scoring.
”It was strictly a game of special teams out there,” Sutter said. ”Five-on 5, we weren’t very impressive.”
Notes: Canucks defenseman Keith Ballard, playing his first game since sustaining a concussion in early February, assisted on Pahlsson’s goal. Ballard missed 30 games. … Vancouver forward Byron Bitz served the first game of a two-game suspension for a hit to the head on Kyle Clifford in Game 1. Andrew Ebbett took Bitz’s spot in the lineup. … Clifford sat out because of an undisclosed upper-body injury. Andrei Loktionov took his place in the lineup.