LOS ANGELES — Despite an awful power play performance from the Kings, they still managed to come away with a 1-0 win against the Canucks in a grueling, physical battle Monday night at the Staples Center.
The two teams combined for 109 penalty minutes with nearly nine coming in the first period all at once, coming courtesy of Tom Sestito. Sestito retaliated on Jordan Nolan for what he felt was an unfair hit right as the puck was dropped on a faceoff and didn’t let up on the Kings’ center, wracking up four penalties and giving the Kings a seven-minute power play.
Another penalty, this one by Henrik Sedin, added on to that power play total and still the Kings could not convert, further illustrating the struggles of the fifth-worst power play unit in the league.
"I’m sure we’ve said the same crap for a while now (about the power play), we’ve just got to figure out it," said center Jarret Stoll. "It’s weird starting a game like that, you never really do that. But you’ve got to be ready to go."
Head coach Darryl Sutter, in a rare jovial mood joked about the team’s woes and made it a point to say that the team still won in the end.
"We’ve had 40-something (power play) shots over the last 2-3 weeks and been missing them," head coach Darryl Sutter said. "So we decided this week that we weren’t going to take those shots. We were only going to practice running the goalie because we’ve got to do a better job on that. But we forgot to shoot the puck on that."
The two teams were scoreless through two period until the line of Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar and Brown produced the games’ only goal and Quick and the defense made it stand up.
Although Sestito was ejected from the game with a game misconduct penalty, his fight was the spark that led to several others throughout the game. Matt Greene was a casualty of one of those fights, as he left the game in the second period after a fight with Kevin Bieksa and did not come back. The team had no updates on his status after the game.
The two teams entered the game just two points away from one another, making these two points even bigger for the Kings and it was the fourth win over the Canucks this season.
"Any time in this division, or conference for that matter, after looking at the standings you could win five straight and not jump any spots," said goaltender Jonathan Quick. "You’ve got to fight for every win. If you’re losing then you’re dropping. If you’re winning, you’re just staying the same. It seems like so you’ve got to keep going every time you’re out there."
The Game 3 shutout of the first round of the playoffs during the 2012 Stanley Cup run was the start of what has now become a Pacific Division rivalry. The chippiness wasn’t completely unexpected although its intensity might have been.
But it’s the first time the Kings have beat the Canucks four times in a season since the 1990-1991 season and it’s clear which team momentarily has the upper hand in the rivalry.
"Once you play teams in the playoffs, there’s something different about it when you play them and fight them in a seven-game series," Brown said. "It’s always fun playing those guys because of the same reason it’s fun playing the Blues and playing the Sharks, because we’ve faced them in much bigger games than what tonight was."