LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings are going to have to adjust their vision for the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, because the other Sedin has entered the picture.
Daniel Sedin's return to the lineup gave Vancouver life as it avoided elimination with a 3-1 victory Wednesday against Los Angeles in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals at the Staples Center.
Sedin had an assist on brother Henrik's third-period goal in his first appearance since leaving with a concussion on March 21. Defensemen Alexander Edler and Kevin Bieksa also scored as Vancouver finally got its power play by scoring twice.
The Kings still lead the series, 3-1, and can advance by winning Game 5 on Sunday in Vancouver.
"I still think they're huge favorites," Henrik Sedin said. "They've got a lot of pressure on them. Being up, 3-0, they wanted to finish it off here. Now we'll bring it back to Vancouver and we'll focus on one game. If we can take that, it's a new series."
L.A. is trying to become the 10th eighth-seeded team to upset the No.1 seed since the League went to its current playoff format in 1994. Another boisterous sellout crowd was poised for the first sweep in franchise history before a classic shift in momentum unfolded in the third period.
Cory Schneider, whose start in net over Roberto Luongo created a media stir earlier in the day, stopped Dustin Brown on a penalty shot during a Vancouver power play. Just 22 seconds later Henrik Sedin batted home a bouncing puck into an open net after some nifty passing down low by Daniel Sedin and Dan Hamhuis for a 3-1 lead.
It was precisely the chemistry and spark Vancouver was missing without both Sedins.
"I think that opens up things," Daniel Sedin said. "We can make those little plays in the middle."
Daniel Sedin and Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault praised an improved game by Henrik Sedin, who looked lost without his brother in the first three games. Henrik Sedin scored his first goal of the series and was a plus-1.
"It was nice to see No.22. It was nice to see No.33 back," Vigneault said. "He was obviously trying real hard and doing all the right things. Both those guys together are such great players, and they proved it tonight. Even though Danny hasn't practiced a lot in the last little while here, he came out and had a stellar performance."
Daniel Sedin graded himself poorly for a slow start, somewhat expected after so much time off. He played 19:33 minutes with three shots on goal. He shook off a hip check from Drew Doughty in the first period and the brother first flashed chemistry in the second when Henrik fed Daniel on a cross-ice pass.
"It was easy for me to come in," Daniel Sedin said. "[Henrik's] holding on to the puck. He's making plays and I can kind of find the open spots. I think he's key for our line and he’s been playing well."
Schneider finished with 43 saves as the Kings outshot Vancouver, 44-30. He was aggressive on Brown's penalty shot, as the latter deked right and Schneider held his ground.
"He came out really far, so I didn't really see much to shoot at," Brown said. "He bit on the first fake, but he had a good push off … I tried to slide it by. It wasn't there."
Schneider has allowed two goals in Games 3 and 4. He said he was more comfortable in his first career back-to-back playoff starts. Goaltending was never really Vancouver's issue. Now it has added Daniel Sedin.
"The power play's a little more dynamic because they have that knack to find themselves," said Brown, who got bloodied from an elbow by Henrik Sedin. "Just like any other great player. You take [Anze Kopitar] out of our lineup and how much does that change our team? It's a big piece for them.
"We've just got to regroup and go. We've beaten this team five times this year. We've got to find a way to do it again."
Vancouver took its first lead of the series since the opening period of Game 1, when it converted on two shots by their defensemen from the right point in a span of 4:29 of the second.
Bieksa cranked a slap shot that deflected off Mike Richards' stick and in at 8:36. Richards had an uncharacteristic turnover in the neutral zone and David Booth grabbed the puck and dropped it off for Bieksa.
"We finally got a bounce," Vigneault said.
Edler, much scrutinized because of some egregious giveaways in the first three games, made up for it with Vancouver's first power-play goal of the series. His shot went in with Ryan Kesler screening Jonathan Quick at 4:07 to snap an 0-for-14 drought.
But Vancouver hardly got the start it sought as L.A. scored the first goal for the third straight game, and it came on an embarrassing play by Mason Raymond.
Kopitar chased down the puck on the right side, shook off Raymond with ease and drove in for a wrist shot that beat Schneider at 13:00. Kopitar's first goal of the series gave the Kopitar-Brown-Williams five goals and eight assists in the series.
The Kings outshot the Canucks, 18-9, in the second period, but eight of those shots came on power plays. The Kings fell to 1-for-15 on the power play over the past two games after they went 9-for-17 over their final two regular season games and Game 1.
"Actually, I thought we played better than we did in the last game," L.A. coach Darryl Sutter said. "The difference was 22 and 33's performance."