VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks headed into Game 5 at GM
Place looking to regain home ice advantage and take a 3-2 lead in their series
with the L.A. Kings. They accomplished that goal in resounding fashion, with a
7-2 trouncing of the visiting Kings.
Mikael Samuelsson led the way for Vancouver with three
points, including his sixth and seventh goals of the playoffs. Samuelsson’s
strong play earned him a spot on the first line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, a
combination that found the magic touch towards the end of Game 4.
“I played the last game with [the Sedins] in the third
period,” said Samuelsson, “so we started off there on a good note and had a
good game today too.”
Samuelsson’s first goal of the night gave the Canucks a
three-goal lead and chased Jonathan Quick from the L.A. net late in the second
period. The Kings’ netminder had allowed four goals on 21 shots, and
was replaced by Erik Ersberg. However, Quick would return to the game in the
third period after Ersberg gave up two goals on four shots.
It was just that kind of night for Los Angeles. The Kings
tried to save face with a couple of fights at the end of the game, and let
their opponents know they weren’t going away quietly.
Pavol Demitra was another Canuck standout, earning three
points, including a goal on a wicked slapshot from the top of the right
face-off circle that made it 5-1 Vancouver. Demitra also picked up an assist on the game’s first goal,
one of two on the night for winger Steve Bernier.
“I try to work as hard as possible and be on the ice for the
playoffs,” said Bernier. “When I’m on the ice I want to create momentum for our
team. And if I have the chance to score it’s always nice.”
Bernier’s offensive output has been uneven in his tenure
with the Canucks, but after tonight he has three goals in five playoff games. All
three of those goals came with Bernier parked in front of the net, where he has
used his size to his advantage and capitalized on rebounds. Daniel Sedin and Alex Edler scored the other Canucks goals,
while Freddy Modin and Michael Handzus lit the lamp for the Kings.
The good news for the Canucks doesn’t end with offense. It
extends to the other end of the ice as well, where goaltender Roberto Luongo
had a strong game, making 24 saves in the victory.
“It was a great win,” said Luongo. “It was important for us
to come out and show them we want this. We established a great momentum off the
start and sustained it for 60 minutes. That being said, I think the toughest
game lies ahead of us.”
Mikael Samuelsson agreed with that last sentiment.
to come back hungry,” said Samuelsson. “We’re not taking anything for granted.
There’s still a long way to go for us.”
Game 6 takes place back in L.A. on Sunday.