Canucks light up the Kings with best effort of the series
Reporting from Vancouver, Canada -- Thoughts and notes on the 7-2 blowout by the Canucks that put the Kings on the verge of playoff elimination entering Game 6, Sunday at 6 p.m. at Staples Center. ...
The Canucks’ performance Friday at GM Place was by far their most complete and completely convincing of the series.
Most obvious is that winger Mikael Samuelsson continued his King-killing ways with two goals and an assist to run his total to seven goals and nine points in five games, Daniel Sedin had a goal and an assist and Henrik Sedin had two assists.
But the Canucks’ production went well beyond their top line. They also got a goal and three points from Pavol Demitra, two goals from Steve Bernier and a goal and three assists from their battered but still boisterous defense corps.
“This was the first game we really put together 60 minutes,” Henrik Sedin said. “We’ve had periods that have been good, 40 minutes that have been good, but never 60 minutes. That was huge for us.”
Kings center Anze Kopitar said it matters less to him what the Canucks did than what the Kings must do to in order to prolong this series. A seventh game, if necessary, would be played Tuesday in Vancouver.
“It’s time to look in the mirror and just get it done,” he said. “We can’t look at them and what they’re doing. It’s about us. We’ve been saying that all series long. It’s the stuff that makes us successful and we’ve got to get back to that.
“Obviously you don’t want to give up seven. It looks pretty bad on the score sheet. But a loss is a loss, if it’s 2-1 or 1-0 or 7-2.”
The Kings’ failings in the second period, when Vancouver expanded its lead from 2-1 to 4-1, were particularly ominous. Their solid defensive play has been their foundation all season, but it was shredded by the Canucks with stunning ease.
“Sometimes when you get to that point of the game guys are trying to do too much, and it backfires on you,” Kopitar said. “Everybody cares in this room. No doubt in anybody’s mind that we don’t care. We wanted to play right until the last puck drop.
“Sometimes you try to do too much and it turns out the other way.”
With so little time to prepare for the next game there’s no time to brood.
“You’ve got to put this behind you and we have to get back to our game, our basics that made us successful throughout these 90 games that we’ve played so far,” Kopitar said. “We want to get back to that and get ready for Game 6.”
If it’s their last game, another clunker like their performance on Friday would be the memory they carry into the summer, not the many areas in which they progressed this season.
“Everyone knows that the effort has to be put in, in this situation. We’re going to face elimination,” Kopitar said. “Even from game one right to the last whistle here I thought everybody wanted to battle. Tonight was one of those games where pretty much everything goes wrong. We weren’t sharp. But we have to put it behind us and get ready.”
Friday Night Fights
Kings winger Richard Clune suffered what appeared to be an arm or shoulder injury in a late third-period fight with Canucks forward Rick Rypien, a scrap that followed a nasty punchout involving Kings winger Wayne Simmonds and Canucks defenseman Shane O’Brien.
O’Brien left the ice gesturing to the crowd with both arms as if asking for more. More fights or more noise? That wasn’t clear.
But it was clear the Kings didn’t care for his antics. Coach Terry Murray said O’Brien acted “like a clown,” and that his grandstanding wasn’t necessary. We’ll see if Murray finds a spot for enforcer Raitis Ivanans on Sunday.
Incidentally, Murray said goaltender Jonathan Quick will start on Sunday, though several Canadian TV commentators said Jonathan Bernier should be called up from Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League. Manchester is scheduled to face the Worcester (Mass.) Sharks in an AHL playoff series starting Sunday.
We’ve got numbers …
Brad Richardson, moved to center on a line with Alexander Frolov and Dustin Brown, was a game-worst -4 defensively. Right behind at -3 were Brown, Frolov and defenseman Jack Johnson. Only two Kings finished on the plus side: Justin Williams, restored to the lineup after being scratched three games and put on the right side with Fredrik Modin and Michal Handzus, was +1 with an assist, and Handzus was +1 with a 50% faceoff percentage rate (11-11).
Quick has given up 10 goals in his last two games, dropping his save percentage to .888 and raising his goals-against average to 3.58.