The Los Angeles Kings were pleased with themselves after ruining
the Vancouver Canucks’ home opener last week. The Canucks, though,
have very pleasant memories of their last two visits to Staples
The teams will meet for the second time in a week Friday night
when the Kings try to hand the visiting Canucks a second straight
Los Angeles (2-1-0) fell in six games to Vancouver (1-1-1) in
the first round of the playoffs last season, and earned a measure
of revenge with a 2-1 shootout win at GM Place last Saturday in the
season opener for both teams.
“They booted us out of our ultimate dream last year and we kind
of spoiled their opening night here tonight and we’re happy for
that,” right wing Justin Williams said after the game.
The Kings turned in a much better defensive effort in the opener
than they did in the playoffs. Los Angeles conceded 10 goals in
losing their final two home games of the series, with seven coming
in the third period.
The first-round loss put a damper on Los Angeles’ first
postseason appearance since 2002. The Kings realize they won’t be
under the radar this season.
“We took a huge step last year in growth,” coach Terry Murray
said. “We know it’s going to be a lot harder this year.”
The Kings did all of their scoring in the third period of their
home opener Tuesday for a 3-1 victory over Atlanta. Ryan Smyth had
two goals and assisted on Jarret Stoll’s first this season.
“We’ve got to make sure we answer and dig in deep every night,
and this was a great way to start that,” Smyth said.
The Kings have only five goals this season and none by Anze
Kopitar, who had a team-high 34 in 2009-10. They believe the goals
will come with time.
“Three games into the year, it’s a pretty small sample size,”
right wing Dustin Brown said. “If we had seven or eight goals, we
wouldn’t be having this conversation. At the same time, it’s still
a small sample size.”
Vancouver’s top goal scorer from last year, Alex Burrows,
remains out with a shoulder injury. Henrik Sedin has no goals and
four assists after leading the NHL with 112 points a season
The Canucks scored three goals in their first two games before
finishing with a season-high 39 shots in a 4-3 loss at Anaheim on
“As long as the chances are there, we’ve got the skill and
potential on this team to finish more,” coach Alain Vigneault said.
“Sometimes you fight it a little bit. Guys are going to keep
working hard, and hard work usually pays off.”
Sedin assisted on Christian Ehrhoff’s power-play goal in last
Saturday’s matchup, and had eight points in last season’s series
versus Los Angeles. Mikael Samuelsson led Vancouver with 11 points
in that series while Daniel Sedin added 10.
Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo has posted a 1.96 goals-against
average this season, and is expected to make his fourth straight
start. Jonathan Quick has started two games for Los Angeles.