The Vancouver Canucks managed to outlast a Los Angeles Kings
team that just wouldn’t go away, earning a 3-2 overtime victory in Game One of
their best-of-seven series. Despite controlling much of the play and outshooting the
Kings 44-27, Vancouver couldn’t put the game on ice until sudden death.
That was when Mikael Samuelsson picked up his second goal of
the night, firing Henrik Sedin’s pass into the top corner for the game-winner. Samuelsson was clutch in the win, using his considerable
playoff experience to elevate his game.
“He’s been big for us all year,” said teammate Alex Burrows.
“That’s the kind of player he is.”
Burrows also had chances to notch a goal or two, but Kings
goaltender Jonathan Quick came up with a huge performance in the L.A. loss. He was
named the game’s third star for his 41 saves. Burrows spoke further about the game and the win.
“It feels great,” said the French-Canadian forward. “We
worked really hard tonight. I think we did a lot of good things. It was a tight
checking game from both sides. Both teams played well and it was good to get
that last shot there.”
The game’s goals came after a scoreless first period. The
Canucks took their first penalty of the game in the dying seconds of the opening
frame, and that would immediately come back to haunt them. 54 seconds into the second period, Jarret Stoll scored a
power play goal to give Los Angeles a one-goal lead.
But it didn’t take long for Vancouver to answer with a power
play goal of their own. Three minutes later, Mikael Samuelsson banged home his
first goal, which came off of a Daniel Sedin rebound, to get the teams back on
The Sedin twins hooked up to give the ‘Nucks the lead
approaching the halfway point of the game. Henrik fed a streaking Daniel, who
sped down the wing, getting a step on the defender, and roofing a difficult
shot on the backhand. Each Sedin finished with two points on the night, picking up right where they left off in the regular season.
On the other hand, Canucks defenseman Andrew Alberts took
two critical penalties. The first one allowed the Kings to get on the board,
and the second, a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct, gave the
Kings a chance to tie the game.
Fredrik Modin did the honors for the Kings, completing a
quick three-way passing play from Alexander Frolov and Dustin Brown. That left
the Kings with another three minutes of power play time, but they couldn’t score the go-ahead marker.
Around the six minute mark of overtime, the Kings had a
glorious chance to end it. With chaos in front of the Vancouver net, a Kings
shot got past Luongo and trickled to the goal line. Luongo reached back with
his trapper and swept the puck off the line at the last second to keep the
“I knew I got a piece of [the shot], but not all of it,”
explained Luongo. “As I looked back, [the puck] was coming right on the line. I
was able to stay with it and swipe it right off there.”
Vancouver came right back up the ice and drained the
game-winner at 8:52 of over time.
The Kings will have to regroup to face the surging Canucks.
If L.A. can find a way to contain the Sedins, and get their big guns,
particularly Anze Kopitar, freed up to do a little more damage, they can take a
split back home. Jonathan Quick was composed and put in an excellent performance,
which gave the Kings a chance to win.
As for the Canucks, strong play from Christian Ehrhoff and
Alex Edler on the blue line was key in this game, and will continue to be
important in the absence of the ailing Willie Mitchell. More of the same
offensive pressure and multiple pucks to the net should continue to yield wins
as the series wears on.