Category Archives: 2010 Playoffs

Kings succumb to Canucks’ speed, drop Game 4

Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo makes a save against Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown during the first period in Game 4 of a first-round NHL hockey Western Conference playoff series in Los Angeles, Wednesday, April 21, 2010. The Vancouver Canucks won 4-6. (AP Photo/Harry How, Pool)Game 4: Canucks 6, Kings 4

Kings winger Alexander Frolov was skating in on a breakaway pass from Dustin Brown. In net was the Canucks’ beleaguered captain, Roberto Luongo. Already touched for two power play goals, the result of this breakaway could very easily determine the outcome of, not only Game 4, by the series. In short, Luongo needed to come up big.

Luongo stopped Frolov’s shot, and by doing so helped spark the Canucks in the third period. in the last frame of a humdinger of a hockey game, the Vancouver Canucks stole Game 4 and the home ice advantage that was attached to it, beating a gassed Kings squad that perhaps peaked too early in the contest.

In Games 2 and 3, the Kings were dictating the play, doing all the things that make them a gritty team, grinding and cycling. On Wednesday, they tried to run with the Canucks, and they were outmatched.

The Kings picked up where they left off last game, proving they are hard to beat when they hold onto the puck, grind it out and cycle, cycle, cycle. Their patience paid off when Vancouver was whistled for too many men on the ice. TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted: “Too Many Men is an epidemic in round one…” (He just happened to elaborate further in his column over on the TSN website .)

Playing with the man-advantage is a situation the Kings have loved to have the last two games. Coming into the game, Los Angeles enjoys having the top-ranked power play unit in the playoffs. On the other side, the Canucks sunk to the bottom in penalty kill.

Brown skates and attempts to slide it past Luongo, who makes the save. But he can’t control the puck, and the result is a scrum at the front of the net. Drew Doughty comes all the way in from the blueline, finds the loose puck, and is able to put it and Ryan Kesler in the back of the net for the first score of the game. The Kings scores their fourth successive power play goal. Canucks blogger Andrew Bucholtz sums up Vancouver’s problems easily when he tweeted: “The real reason they’re losing. To hell with conspiracies. Vancouver’s PK falls to 35.7%”

The Kings get slowed down a bit in the second period when Michal Handzus gets called for tripping Henrik Sedin. Jonathan Quick gets screened by the big butt of Steve Bernier, as Christian Erhoff scored on a slapper from the faceoff circle to tie the game. But then two minutes later, L.A. gets it back.

Frolov drew a hooking penalty from Bieksa to give L.A. the man advantage. And off the faceoff, Brown scored on a quick wrister from Fredrik Modin to put the Kings back on top, 2-1. And the Louuuuuuu chants start from Staples Center. Puck Daddy editor Greg Wyshynski made a humorous observation (and maybe not so funny for Vancouver) when he tweeted: “It’s still mathematically possible for the Kings to have a PP conversion rate higher than Luongo’s save percentage.”

It’s L.A.’s sixth power play in a row, and their ninth for the series. And just in case you were wondering, the most power play goals in one series is 15, achieved most recently by the Minnesota North Stars in 1991 against the Chicago Blackhawks. Six PP goals in two games? We’ll see.

Kings defenseman Randy Jones gets called for holding, in his return from a two-game banishment to the press box. (The Hammer has more about why he was benched here.) Fortunately for Jones, the Kings were able to kill off the penalty.

Three minutes later, Jannik Hansen gets charged with high-sticking Jack Johnson, and L.A.’s deadly power play goes back to work. But then, the unthinkable happened: Vancouver kills off their first PK in 6 tries. Vancouver is able to capitalize on the momentum of killing off a penalty. After a bad turnover by Kings defenseman Sean O’Donnell, Pavol Demitra registers his first goal of the series when he wrists it past Quick.

Then things start to get chippy. Offsetting penalties by Dustin Brown and Alexander Burrows puts the action to 4-on-4. O’Donnell’s shot from the point goes way wide, but find it’s way to Wayne Simmonds. Simmonds is able to dig the puck out, and quickly passes it to a charging Anze Kopitar, who redirects it past Luongo to give L.A. their third lead of the game. And Staples explodes.

The Press-Enterprise’s Jim Alexander gave more food for thought amongst conspiracies, when he tweeted: “Also thought that Van penalty late second period on Hansen was suspect. Looked like JJ stepped into him and I’m not sure stick even hit JJ.” Just what those tin-foil wearing ‘Nuck fans needed.

In the third period, Daniel Sedin gets a call for tripping Rob Scuderi, and L.A. gets to take another whack at getting their 10th PP goal of the series. But the Canucks are able to kill it off again. Examiner.com’s Jon Moncrief tweeted: “Canucks one second away from second straight penalty kill. Somewhere conspiracy theorists are hard at work on another theory.”

The Canucks have all the momentum and were buzzing in the third. But the opportunistic Kings are always lurking, waiting to take advantage of a Vancouver mistake. And they get that break when Brown spots Frolov for a breakaway goal. despite a sprawling Shane O’Brien, Frolov skates in on Luongo, as Staples Center rose to their feet. But Bobby Lu comes up huge, and makes a game-altering save. It was a save he absolutely needed to make at that time, and it buoyed the Canucks.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie nailed it when he tweeted: “If Canucks come back to win this game and series, that Luongo breakaway save on Frolov will be TSN turning point. If not…never mind. :)” Way to waffle there, Bob. But the stop plays instant dividends for the Canucks and their confidence level.

They are able to tie the game once again when Mikael Samuelsson scored his fifth goal of the series, prompting Puck Daddy editor Sean Leahy  to tweet: “Since Mikael Samuelsson told the Swedish hockey program to F themselves in late Dec, he’s scored 25 of his now 35 total goals this year.”

Things completely start to unravel for the Kings when they get called for too many men, for the 14th time overall in these playoffs. The Canucks continued to be on the offensive, pushing L.A. back on their heel. And for the first time in this series, it’s the Kings that looked gassed in the third. Sami Salo scores on a Henrik Sedin pass to give Vancouver their first lead of the game.

The Kings got it right back when Wayne Simmonds scored on a sly pass by Ryan Smyth, off a Jack Johnson blast from the point. Simmonds shows the ability to get inside the defender, and knots this game up on his sprawling score.

But it was all Vancouver after that. A 4-on-2 off of a Smyth turnover finds the Art Ross winner Henrik Sedin to lead the charge, aggressively skating toward Quick, and pops it in to break the tie with three minutes to go. The Kings pull Quick to the bench, but can’t get anything to go their way. And Ryan Kesler seals the deal for Stick in a Box.

The loss guarantees a Game Six at Staples on Sunday, and a half hour after the skaters leave the ice, all the tickets are gone. Looks like I’m gonna have to try really really hard to get tickets. But I’m going. Oh yes, I’m going. And if I can get decent seats, I’ll paint the face. Sure, I’ll look like of off those dudes from the Insane Clown Posse, with my playoff head fully sprouted, but a guy has to do what a guy has to do.

Fredrik Modin #33 of the Los Angeles Kings tries to score against Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on April 21, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)• AP: Sedin leads Canucks past Kings, series tied at 2

“This is part of the process you’ve got to go through as a young group of guys and face adversity,” Kings coach Terry Murray said. “Again, I feel we’ve handled those situations pretty well over the course of the year. We’ve shown to be resilient and ready and bounce back. It’s going to be a big test back in Vancouver.”

• LA Times: Kings see double as Canucks tie series with 6-4 win

The Kings extended their power-play streak to six in building a 2-1 lead early in the second period and even after the Canucks built a 4-3 lead the Kings made it 4-4 at 13:18 on Simmonds’ lunging rebound. But they soon lost their composure and the game.

• LA Times: How Kings’s Die-Hards live hockey

At Staples on Wednesday, there were more bad noses than a Scorsese movie, and I’m not just talking about the players. You should see the louts up here in the Die-Hard section. War whoops. “Puckhead” hats. Crowns. And beer breath that would kill a goat.

• LAKings.com: Canucks beat Kings 6-4

Given open ice, for an extended period, for perhaps the first time in this series, the Sedins factored in three third-period goals as the Canucks rallied from three different deficits to beat the Kings 6-4 before a standing-room-only crowd of 18,322 at STAPLES Center.

• PE.com: Kings watch one get away

 But playing wide-open hockey against the Canucks isn’t the way to go, especially when the Sedins are on the ice. And there was plenty of open ice on the go-ahead goal, scored by Henrik off a nice move. 

• NHL.com:  Canucks rally for series-tying win over Kings

“I give Vancouver credit. Their best player stepped up at a critical time, made a big play,” Kings coach Terry Murray said. “When you have a lead going into the third period, you got to be able to nail that thing down.”

• NHL.com: Kings In Unfamiliar Territory

The Kings must now prove that they have short memories and put Wednesday’s costly third period behind them. If the team wishes to return to STAPLES Center with a lead in the series, they must show that a young team can bounce back. 

They said it

“They do not need a lot of room. Time and space, they take full advantage of that. You have to make sure you are above their third guy, and above the pocket. In this case (on the winning goal), we got caught. … We have geared ourselves up for a long series. We know it was not going to be easy. They are a fighting team, and so are we. We are geared up. We are ready for it.” – Ryan Smyth, on the game.
“We made some mistakes, and they’re good players over there. They have a good team, and they’re going to capitalize when we make mistakes. We haven’t made too many, in regards to too many men or bad changes. They haven’t really had many chances in the first three games, but we gave them two tonight and they scored on both. You can’t give good players great opportunities.” – Dustin Brown, on how the game got away from the Kings.

“Good spot. Great effort. I loved our start. The first period was exactly what we needed; go after it. This is part of the process. You’ve got to go through it as a young group of guys, and you’re going to face adversity. Again, I feel we have handled those situations pretty well over the course of the year. We’ve shown to be resilient and gritty and bounce back. It’s going to be a big test back in Vancouver.” – Terry Murray , on where the Kings are in the series right now.

Related Game 4 links

Around the Kingdom: Game Four blogs Around the Kingdom: Game Four blogs

From Across the Aisle; the Vancouver viewpoint From Across the Aisle; the Vancouver viewpoint

Peeping the Dailies: Game Four videos Peeping the Dailies: Game Four videos

Hockeywood Insider Playoff Special: Game 4 Hockeywood Insider Playoff Special: Game 4

Around the Kingdom: Game Four blogs

Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings tries to clear the puck against Ryan Kesler #17 of the Vancouver Canucks in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on April 21, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)• Press Box Perspective’s Kat Kealy: Henrik Sedin’s 1st 2010 Playoff Goal Game-Winner in the Canucks’ Win in Game 4

The Kings were outshot 37-26 tonight, which is unusual for them. Clearly, limiting shots again is something the Kings will want to work on before facing the Canucks in Vancouver for game 6 on Friday. Getting the Kings’ playoff-leading power play back on track would also be a good thing.

• LA Kings News: Momentum defines Game 4 – Series tied, 2-2

At the end of the night though, game 4 was all about momentum. Each time the Kings tried to take it by extending their lead to 2, Vancouver came back. Each time Vancouver tried to take the momentum after tying the game, the Kings answered and grasped the lead. Tonight however the Kings’ lead was akin to holding water in the palm of your hand – futile.

• Examiner.com’s Jon Moncrief: Kings learn tough lesson in Game Four loss 

The Kings committed seven penalties on the night, including getting called for a too many men penalty that led to Salo’s goal. They didn’t play with the same level of aggressiveness offensively in the third period as they had the previous two. And they let a team they had down and ready to be counted out of the series back up. Learning lessons to be sure for this team, but lessons they can still gain knowledge from and apply quickly as they are even through four games of the series.

• HockeyBuzz’s Matthew Barry: Now THAT Was a Playoff Game!

Why can’t the Kings just say that Peter Harrold broke his wrist and won’t return anytime soon? Did Vancouver fans not enjoy my guarantee? Although Randy Jones didn’t make any boneheaded plays tonight, (he was a +1) he WAS still in the lineup and the Kings are now 0-2 with him in it!

• Battle Of California: Kings Gameday, Part IV of III: Oh Well

One goal scored against the Handzus line, one goal scored on the penalty kill, and two goals scored against the Kopitar line. That cost us the game. On the plus side, we probably played our best game for the first two periods. Still haven’t played a good game yet, though. And Ryan Smyth has been playing like shit all series. Oh well, boys, you’ll get ’em next time.

• Purple Crushed Velvet: Kings 4, Canucks 6: F Word Kings 4, Canucks 6: F Word!

The defense needs to be better and, surprise surprise, the team needs to play better 5-on-5 throughout the entire game. They looked good in the first period at even strength, but they faltered as the game went on.

• Rink Royalty: Who Needs a 7-game Series Anyway?

Will the Kings be able to maintain strong forechecking during the 5 on 5? Not in any significant fashion. They had a few good shifts, but they’ll need a more consistent presence if they’re going to win the series. They gave up 3 even strength goals (four if you count the empty net goal) and that’s just going to be trouble. Add the two PP goals, and that’s a devastating 6 goals against. You’re not going to win many games giving up 6 goals, that’s for sure.

• Jewels From the Crown: Need Positives; Canucks 6, Kings 4 

There were plenty of frustrating aspects in the game, but in these instances, there have to be positives to latch on to in order to make the last three games ones to look forward to. Myself? I’m staying positive because there were times in the regular season where the Kings faltered in the third period, but they were always able to get their play back on track in subsequent games.

• Inside Hockey’s Brian Kennedy: Within the Grasp and Gone Within the Grasp and Gone

All’s not lost for the Kings, however, with the series simply tied at 2-2. But the sense is that having blown three leads and a tie in this pivotal game, there’s not much chance that they can come back from BC to win the thing Sunday. If they prevail Friday, though, that’s exactly the scenario that will present itself. If not, then it’s up to the Kings to win at home Sunday to prolong the series to seven games.

Related Game 4 links

Kings succumb to Canucks’s speed, drop Game 4

From Across the Aisle; the Vancouver viewpoint

Peeping the Dailies: Game Four videos

Hockeywood Insider Playoff Special: Game 4

From Across the Aisle; the Vancouver viewpoint

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Matt Greene, right, checks Vancouver Canucks right wing Jannik Hansen during the first period in Game 4 of a first-round NHL hockey Western Conference playoff series in Los Angeles, Wednesday, April 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)• Vancouver Sun: Canucks rally to beat Kings 6-4 as Sedins provide twin killing

One day after Canucks coach Alain Vigneault called on his top players to be better and said “will” determines winning and losing, Vancouver showed plenty of heart. And a strong stomach, surviving the wild swings of Game 4 to get a victory it desperately needed.

• Vancouver Sun: Sedins provide Canucks with a Hollywood ending

“Once in a while you need to see something else,” Samuelsson said. “It’s maybe good for me and the twins and also Burr to play with other players. If it doesn’t work the way we want it to, do one small move and we can do that because everyone is comfortable with each other.”

• Vancouver Sun: Canucks-Kings, Game 4: Game within a game

PIVOTAL POINT:  Kind of an easy one. Daniel and Henrik on a rush chance with Henrik carrying the mail deep, faking King defenceman Matt Greene to his knees and scoring the game winner with 2:52 remaining in the third period.

• NuckWorld: Demitra, my hero

Now I’ve seen everything. The Canucks killed two penalties and Pavol Demitra worked his ass off. That’s the kind of night it was for the Canucks, who made plenty of mistakes again defensively — and still allowed two more goals to the Kings’ power play — but made up for it in heart and grit. 

• The Province: Hockey Gods smile on Canucks in series-tying win over LA Kings

In a game where they fought and scratched and scrambled for everything they could get, the Canucks rose from the crypt to even their Western Conference series against the L.A. Kings with an improbable, impassioned – and very imperfect – 6-4 win. 

• The Province: Canucks%sq243% big men rise to topple Kings 6-4

“I said it from Day 1, that this is a different team,” said Henrik. “We stuck with it and that’s the biggest thing. Personally with our line, if this would have been a couple of years ago, we would have been cheating and made plays we shouldn’t have made and the game would have been out of hand after 40 minutes. You have to stick with it. We did.”

• The Province: Luongo digs deep in third to help seal crucial game for Canucks

Yes, he got beat four times in a wild, at-times reckless game, and that’s usually enough sod for his critics to have a field day on. Luongo couldn’t glove a loose puck early which led to Drew Doughty’s goal, the first of the game. 

• NucksMisconduct: Canucks/Kings Game IV Recap

Vancouver still has a truck load to improve on before the best of three starts. Chief of which remains their PK which is still setting the post season mark for abysmally laughable; it was great to break the streak in the second, but Rick Bowness needs to come up with another strategy. 43.8% on the kill, of rather 9 PP goals against in four games (the Kings record, dating back to the Gretzky days I believe, is 11) is beyond the definition of unacceptable.

• NucksMisconduct: A Bit of Squid – April 22nd

Although it started a little rougher in the 1st period with a couple failed penalty kills, the 2nd period was a huge improvement with some successful penalty kills and a couple goals.  The 3rd period was even stronger, and incredibly fun.

Related Game 4 links

Kings succumb to Canucks’s speed, drop Game 4

Around the Kingdom: Game Four blogs

Hockeywood Insider Playoff Special: Game 4

Talk about a draining game. The Kings were dominating in the first two periods, before getting handed a brutal loss at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks, sending the series back to Canada all tied up.

Jesse and I talk all things from Game Four that you would possibly want to listen about. Like whether of not Randy Jones was the goat of this game. How good is Drew Doughty? If Justin Williams returns, who gets the shaft? All pertinent questions to should asked.

We also touch on the Manchester Monarchs, and their for-game streal Don’t forget, you can subscribe on iTunes, so you can get the podcast before anyone else does.


Stay classy, Kings fans.

The majority of Kings fans are amongst the most knowledgable in all of sports. They have to be, since they usually have to suffer through Laker highlights, Dodgers and Angels highlights, Galaxy and Chivas highlights, NASCAR highlights, Sparks highlights, horse racing results from Del Mar and footage of a waterskiing squirrel before hockey gets any love here in Southern California.

Hardcore fans who have followed this young team through their toughest rebuilding process have a respect for the game and other fans. They understand there’s a mutual respect for teams once they meet up in the playoffs.

These fans have been subjected to ridicule and harrassment from friends and co-workers for years. Never mind the abuse heaped on by Ducks fans when they won the Stanley Cup. They’ve seen their club torn down and rebuilt from the ground floor, and have suffered through the growing pains and the frustration mounted each season the team didn’t make the playoffs.

So now, the Kings finally reach the playoffs, and another fanbase becomes aware, the bandwagon fans. The front-runners. The cherry pickers. The fans who went there through thin and thinner. The fans who rooted for other teams, even though they lived in L.A. The fans who wouldn’t know the difference between icing and offsides.

And it’s was those fans who were the most vocal and visible at Game Three on Monday. I’m talking about those fans who booed the Canadian National anthem. Really? Booing “O, Canada?”

In Vancouver, the fans were very cool about the U.S. national anthem and gave it the respect it deserves. But as soon as the playoffs shift to L.A., fans start booing Canada’s anthem? Look, I’m not going to sit here and tell fans how to cheer at games. You paid your money, you should be able to say what you want. But be smart enough to also be respectful of the other team’s country. Boo the team, don’t boo the country. That’s just dumb, and it reflects badly on the rest of the Kings fans, who just shook our heads when we heard it Last time I checked, Drew Doughty is Canadian. You’re gonna tell me you’re booing him?

And this guy, who decided it would be funny to call those dancing green men from Vancouver “geh.” Really? “Geh?”

Personally, I think that the bit those two Canuck fans stole from “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” is played out now. I saw their antics on YouTube months ago , and it’s stale. But it’s brand new to these newcomer fans, who hate anything about Stick In A Box. And while I can appreciate these fans’ newly-minted enthusiasm, is it really necessary to hurl thinly-disguised homophobic insults at anyone, let alone two grown men in green Spandex? That’s just lazy. You can be more creative than that, Kings fans.

Look, there’s nothing that can be done about bandwagon fans in sports. It’s a fact of life that the diehards can grouse about all they want, but cannot stop. So, rather than complaining about these noobs, I shall attempt to take them under my wing. Embrace them, in the hopes that they will get it and start becoming better hockey fans.

Bandwagon fans, I know it’s been a long time since the Kings have been in the playoffs. So here’s some suggestions to make you look like you know what you’re doing: Go ahead and cheer as loud as you want for the Kings. Go ahead and boo as loud as you can against the Canucks. But show some intelligence and be respectful of other hockey fans.

Don’t boo Canada’s national anthem. And don’t hold up homophobic signs. Be better than that.

Kings dominate Game 3 with the power of ‘Zus

Los Angeles Kings team members celebrates a goal by defenseman Drew Doughty (8) as Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo stands in goal during the first period in Game 3 of a first-round NHL hockey Western Conference playoff series, Monday, April 19, 2010, in Los Angeles. The Kings won 5-3. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Game 3: Kings 5, Canucks 3

Imagine the viewpoint from the player’s standpoint for a moment. You can feel the roar, before you even push your way through the double castle doors. You skate out to AC/DC’s Back in Black to a raucous arena filled with fans wearing all black and waving white towels, bellowing with the pent-up intensity of six failed seasons.

Staples is not normally known to be particularly loud from a fan standpoint. But this is the Stanley Cup playoffs, and everyone loves a winner in this town. The Kings start Game Three with overwhelming pride, enthusiasm and momentum, before the puck even drops.

But all that enthusiasm is sucked out of the building in two minutes, when Vancouver’s Mason Raymond draws first blood. Peter Harrold fell down by the board, which allowed the dangerous Canucks an out-numbered attack on Quick, and they capitalized. Ryan Kesler fed the puck across the crease to Raymond, who shot it in for his first playoff goal.

But as they seemingly have done all series, the Kings battle back, and Brad Richardson draws a slashing penalty on Christian Ehrhoff to give L.A. a power play opportunity. And it’s Drew Doughty who takes advantage of the opportunity, when he snaps a low writer near the blue line past Luongo to tie the game, as Staples Center explodes. Doughty’s PP goal is L.A.’s fifth out of ten chances with the man advantage this series.

To say the fans are excited is an understatement. When P.A. announcer David Courtney simply said the words “Kings goal…,” he got a huge pop from the crowd. John Shannon from sportsnet.ca makes a valid observation when he tweeted:”goalies will have trouble seeing the puck above the glass, with all thefans wearing black at Staples.” The L.A. fans certainly heeded the call by the club to wear all black to the game. My heart skipped a beat when Iactually saw some face-painting going on. Tremendous.

The first period finds both clubs tied with 22 hits a piece. Vancouver is not known as a hitting team, as they were only 27th in the league. It’s an interesting strategy, to try and out-grit the Kings.

Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks whinces as he is attended to by a trainer during the second period in game three of the Western Conference Semi-final at Staples Center on April 19, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)The Kings get an early power play in the second period, when Fredrik Modin draws a holding penalty. Another wrister, this time by Jack Johnson, once again finds its way to Luongo. Only this time, Bobby Lu stops it, but can’t control the rebound. The puck finds its way to the stick of Michal Handzus to lift the Kings 2-1.

Vancouver gets a scare, when Luongo comes up off the ice injured after Johnson’s goal. As Ryan Smyth was jumping up to screen the shot from the goaltender, he landed square on Luongo’s wrist. The trainer comes out, and you can tell his wrist is killing him, but he stays on the ice.

When Mason Raymond gets yanked for holding Anze Kopitar, the NHL’s hottest PP team takes to the ice. And Handzus scores his second power play goal of the game to make it 3-1. Handzus is making up for his Game One gaffe, when he was caught celebrating rather than scrapping on Luongo’s improbable game-savingswat in overtime. He has the Kings firmly in the driver’s seat.

Then a minute later, Brad Richardson strips the puck from defenseman Aaron Rome and scores the Kings’ second even-strength goal of the series to make it 4-1. That was enough for Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault, who yanks Luongo in favor of Andrew Raycroft.

It’s not surprising that Bobby Lu has struggled. Examiner.com’s Jon Moncrief tweets : “12 goals allowed by Luongo in his last 105 minutesat Staples Center for a GAA of 6.86.” HockeyBuzz’s Kat Kealy adds: “#Canucks are pulling Luongo after the #LAKings’ first even strength goal… Probably should have pulled him the last time he was at Staples.”

The Canucks halve the score, when Mikael Samuelsson flips the puck past Quick to score his fourth of the series. Turns out Samuelsson has been the only Canuck to realize it’s the postseason, the rest of his team has only combined for three goals.

The Canucks gets a goal recalled when Daniel Sedin’s skate re-directs an Alexander Burrows pass under Quick. It took 6 minutes for the review booth to decide upon, and Staples Center was on edge. When the ref made the call, the assembled throngs breathed a huge sigh of relief.

But, as Canucks blogger Andrew Bucholtz tweeted: “Gentlemen, start your conspiracy theories…” Former goaltender and current TSN analyst Darren Pang added: “I have a really difficult time thinking that Sedincould parlay that into a “distinct kick motion” with OD all over him onthe play.” TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeted: “My personal opinion is the Vancouver no goal should have been a goal, but I knew right away it was going to be disallowed.”

But that relief was short-lived, when Daniel Sedin struck again, deflecting the puck past Quick to regain that third goal. Vancouver has grabbed control of this game, as the Kings start to struggle. Handzus gets called for goalie interference to put L.A. down a man and with no momentum.

The Kings get a boost when they kill off the Handzus penalty, but can’t seem the clear the puck out of the zone. They finally get it out, thanks to Kopitar and Wayne Simmonds. And after an exchange at center ice, Ryan Smyth scores a crazy-looking goal, on a slap shot from waaaaaaaaaaay downtown that looked like a Tom Candiotti knuckleball.

It started off looking like it was going to fly over the goal, but dipped suddenly over Raycroft’s glove to give L.A. another two-goal buffer. PuckDaddy’s Sean Leahy tweeted: “Ryan Smyth & Tomas Holmstrom have now scored the longest goals of their career in the same week.”

Game was winding down when something I never thought I’d see again happened. It wouldn’t be an L.A. playoff game if Dancing Boy didn’t show up, Thankfully, he did. (Stick tap to the Mayor of 119 for the heads up).

Vigneault pulled the goalie with two minutes left in the period, but the damage had been done. As the clock wound down , Staples was just getting started. The streamers fell from the rafters and Staples was rocking. This is LA playoff hockey, and it sounds like The Briggs.

The three stars of the game: Handzus with 2 goals and an assist got the third star: Drew Doughty with 1 goal and three assists was star No. 2, and Jack Johnson with 3 assists was named the No. 1 star of the game. Call me kooky, but I think that order was reversed by accident. Either way, the Kings have a full head of steam heading into their Game 4 matchup back at Staples.

• AP: Kings charge past Canucks for 2-1 series lead

The Canucks’ star goalie and Canadian Olympic hero gave up eight goals in an embarrassing loss to the Kings just 18 days ago, and he stopped just 12 of 16 shots before getting pulled late in the second period of Game 3 in front of a raucous Hollywood crowd watching its first playoff game since April 27, 2002.

• LA Times: Kings enjoy the view from advantage point

The last time the Kings won a playoff game at Staples Center, on April 27, 2002, Drew Doughty was 12 years old. Now he’s playing with the big boys and shining.

• LA Kings: Kings announce the presense with authority

When the Kings came off the proverbial ropes, though, it was something to see. The Kings scored four consecutive goals, including three on the power play, and beat the Canucks 5-3 before a standing-room-only crowd of 18,264 at STAPLES Center.

• NHL.com: Power play leads Kings past Canucks  

And just when you thought the Kings’ power play couldn’t get any better, it delivered a perfect 3-for-3 performance and is now 7-for-12 in the series. Twenty-year-old defenseman Drew Doughty had a goal and three assists and said afterward that this team might not have known what to expect in its first playoff series, but the players now feel they are ready to drop the hammer on Vancouver.

Brad Richardson #15 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates his goal for a 4-1 lead over the Vancouver Canucks during the second period in game three of the Western Conference Semi-final at Staples Center on April 19, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)They said it

“It is the playoffs, so you play with a lot of inspiration. We do not want to get scored on. It was not perfect, but we will take a win. That is the most important thing. We got a win and we just have to keep going.” – Michal Handzus, on the game.

“Well, my first NHL goal was from the blue line, so I think I’ll remember that one forever. But that was a little ways out, and obviously it was toward the end of a shift. I just wanted to get it on net. I think it went off his skate and then just a seeing-eye shot, like their goal too.” – Ryan Smyth , on his long-range goal in the third period.

“Maybe. Those fans were going crazy before the game, and there was maybe a little bit of nervousness and a little bit of pressure got to us, but we came through and we were a lot better after those first couple minutes. After that, I thought that we were the best of the team for the rest of the game.” – Drew Doughty, on whether there were some nerves at the start of the game.

“It really simplifies everything. They control the puck really well. We’ve been shooting the puck and getting some bounces, and that’s how we’re getting some goals.” – Anze Kopitar , on Doughty and Johnson’s play on the power play.

“There’s no secret to it at all. We’re just taking what’s given. Drew and I, especially at the top, we need to try to be able to create things for the forwards. If we had a chance to shoot, we did. If one of us couldn’t shoot, just keep moving it around, and we just kept moving. One thing we didn’t want to do was stand still.” – Jack Johnson, on the secret to the power-play success.

“Well they [the Canucks] came out very good. That was a great start by the Vancouver Canucks. They had lots of energy, they were heavy, they were hard, physical, and they end up scoring the first goal. I thought the building was very good. You know, I’ve been hearing for the past couple years about the atmosphere that’s going to be there whenever the team gets to the playoffs, and it was that plus. It was tremendous. Fans were a big, big part of the game here for us tonight.” – Terry Murray , on the playoff atmosphere

Related links

Around the Kingdom: Game Three Kings blogs

From Across the Aisle, the Vancouver viewpoint

Peeping the dailies

Game Three review podcast

Around the Kingdom: Game Three blogs

Los Angeles Kings left wing Ryan Smyth, left, celebrate his goal with defenseman Jack Johnson, center, and defenseman Drew Doughty during the third period in Game 3 of a first-round NHL hockey Western Conference playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks, Monday, April 19, 2010, in Los Angeles. The Kings won 5-3. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)• LA Times Fabulous Forum: Kings after deadline: Robbed or not, the Canucks have problems

In the six playoff series the Kings have held 2-1 leads, they’ve won four times. The last occasion was the 1993 conference finals against Toronto, which they won in seven games.

• ESPN’s Tom Murray: Kings Win; Take 2-1 Lead In Series

After some good chances by both teams, Ryan Smyth, just gassed at the end of a shift, fires one at the Canucks net. Looks like it hits a defender on the way in and it beats Andrew Raycroft on the glove side. That might be the longest goal in Smytty’s career! This guy usually scores when he’s on top of the goalie!

• ESPN’s Tom Murray: Kings On A Roll And In Control

Luongo was chased from the game after the Kings next goal, an unassisted steal by Brad Richardson, who forced a turnover in front of the Canucks net, whirled and fired a shot past Luongo, who allowed four goals on just 16 shots but was unfazed afterwards. 

• Examiner.com’s Jon Moncrief: Kings feed off crowd and power past Canucks

“I thought the building was very good,” head coach Terry Murray told a full house of reporters afterwards.  “I’ve been hearing for the past couple of years about the atmosphere, that it was going to be a plus… it was tremendous; fans were a big part of the game for us.”

• HockeyBuzz’s Matthew Barry: After 8 Years, Kings Win a Home Playoff Game 5-3

Kings color commentator Jim Fox said it was a good goal. The referee said it was a good goal. But those in Toronto took a loooong time before overruling the call on the ice. That’s right. Those in TORONTO who had gigantic brass balls to overturn the call on the ice.  And Vancouver fans heads collectively exploded. 

• LA Kings News: Are there even words?

O’Donnell is showing his veteran worth. While he looked slow and overmatched much of the regular season, his experience is proving too much for the Canucks to handle. They may be faster than OD, but they aren’t smarter, and his calm stick and stealthy positioning are breaking up plays left and right.

• Jewels From the Crown: Victory is Ours! Kings 5, Canucks 3

There was so much going on in and around STAPLES Center that I’m glad I got inside just as the players hit the ice for warmups. Every inch of the area was occupied by someone or something so that there was no wasted space throughout the entire arena. I, myself, was nervous and antsy for the start of the game so I didn’t try to take in every single stimuli.

• Rink Royalty: Kings Power Play Rocks Canucks

Slow Starts – The Kings got away with one this time, but damn if this pattern of giving up an early goal (or two) doesn’t come back and bite them in the ass. If they manage to get by the Canucks, and indeed in ORDER to get by the Canucks, this pattern is going to have to stop. If the Kings played like we saw in the 2nd period, they can hang with (and beat) any team in the league. This is the inconsistency we’ve been seeing all season, and the Kings need to rise above it now.

Related links

Kings dominate Game Three with the power of ‘Zus: Game Three recap

From Across the Aisle, the Vancouver viewpoint

Peeping the dailies

Game Three review podcast