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ROYAL ROAD REPORT: TOUGH START TOO MUCH

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
VANCOUVER – The Kings were heavily outplayed and thunderously outshot in the first period and despite a valiant comeback effort in the third, LA was unable to win its fourth straight game losing 4-2 to the Canucks.


From bad to worse was the theme of the opening 20 minutes for the Kings as the Canucks peppered Jonathan Quick with shots to the tune of 11-1 through 10 minutes, but couldn’t weather the storm after that giving up a pair of goals to trail 2-0 and 20-3 in shots after the first.

LA came to life in the second out-shooting Vancouver 9-7 and that set the stage for a roller coaster third frame.

Alexander Frolov scored his 28th goal of the season 6:50 in and Anze Kopitar followed that up with his 24th goal just 26 second later to even things up at 2-2.

A few breakdowns and less than two minutes after that and Henrik Sedin had a pair of goals to thwart any hopes the Kings had of winning their fourth straight game.

SLOPPY START SAID IT ALL
“Unfortunately we had to battle back from 2-0, the first period was the difference in the game,” said Kings head coach Terry Murray.

“They came out with all the desperation that they needed to play the right way and play heavy and play harder than we did and they had the puck most of the first period.”

Despite showing a lot of heart in the final two periods, LA is now 5-22-6 when giving up the game’s first goal and 3-21-4 when trailing after 20 minutes of play.

“We battled back very hard all year long, that’s one thing I like about this hockey club and this group is that there’s always that dig in effort right through to the final buzzer and in the second and third period we gave it a lot of stuff.”

BAD BOUNCE BEAT QUICK EARLY

Jonathan Quick was looking sharp early as he warded off shots from all angles before a bad bounce gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead. Off a Canucks dump in, Quick went to play the puck behind his goal, it took a zany hop and ended up in front of the net and Alex Burrows was there to give Vancouver the lead.

“They dumped it in there and I was looking up ice trying to figure out what my options were,” explained Quick. “The puck just took a weird bounce off the boards, I was late to see it and it jumped in front and someone put it in.

“You just forget about it, obviously it’s not a goal you want to let up but it happens and you’ve just got to refocus and forget about it.”

Quick remained solid even though he surrendered two more goals, but he wanted Vancouver’s fourth score back, a speedy Henrik Sedin shot on the rush from in tight.

“I saw it clean, I don’t think he got all of it when he shot it, I don’t know if it hit something, I don’t think it did, but O’Donnell played him pretty well there in not letting him get to the net and it was just kind of a knuckler, it was just one of those goals.”

KOPITAR GOAL + KINGS LOSS = RARE
The Kings were 15-3-2 heading into this game when Anze Kopitar scored a goal and 38-18-8 all-time when he found the back of the net. His 24th goal of the season wasn’t pretty, but it tied the game up at 2-2 before the Canucks stormed back.

“I saw Dustin and Teddy go to the net and I just tried to lay it there and it ended up in the net so I don’t know, I think it squeezed in short side,” he said.

Kopitar is now on a six-game point streak having collected five goals and four assists over that stretch.

ROAD WARRIORS

With the playoffs still in the picture for the Kings, the team needs to regroup quickly and get ready to face the San Jose Sharks Saturday night at the HP Pavilion. Eleven of LA’s last 15 games are on the road, so they’ve got to find a way to pick up points as the visiting team, which could be problematic against the Pacific Division leading Sharks.

“It doesn’t get any easier than this and it seems like everyone is hunting for the playoffs right now so we just need to go out and make sure the first five or ten minutes in San Jose we play hard,” said Sean O’Donnell, who will play his 1,000th game on Saturday.

“I think you saw a different team tonight in the second period and the third period and that’s what we have to do, we have to come out and play that way. Instead of waiting back and getting behind the eight ball with those two quick goals and getting upset and getting frustrated, we need to come out that way to start.”

AFFILIATES GO 1-1
The Monarchs had their six-game win streak snapped, as Scott Parse scored the lone goal in Manchester’s 4-1 loss to Lowell. Jonathan Bernier (19-18-3) took his 18th loss of the season stopping 27-of-29 shots...more

The Kings affiliate in the ECHL, Ontario Reign, skated to a 4-3 win on Friday night, behind two goals by Bud Holloway, who extended his point streak to four games (4-4=8) while Jeff Zatkoff made 40 saves on 43 shots...more

Compiled by Derek Jory | Special to LAKings.com

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