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The Key Three: April 11

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Three key aspects of the Kings’ 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks...

The second intermission brought the distinct feeling that the Kings, for their own mental health, had to win the game. In total, they performed quite well in the first 40 minutes, and had only a 2-2 tie to show for it. If the Canucks had come away with the win, the Kings might have felt deflated, and the storyline might well have been that the Kings gave it their best shot, but it wasn’t enough. Instead, the winners stepped up. Dustin Penner, who has lifted the Stanley Cup, scored the game-winning goal. Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, who made it to the Cup Finals, assisted, and the Kings were able to grab the victory.

Jeff Carter said it best after the game: ``The stick wasn’t working too well tonight, so it’s a good thing the skate was.’’ Carter certainly didn’t have his best game, but that’s understandable, given that he missed the final five regular-season games because of a sore ankle that is probably still quite sore. Still, Carter had the presence of mind to make a deft play on Dustin Penner’s game-winning goal. Carter noted that Mike Richards’ pass would be off-target, so he positioned his left skate to deflect the puck toward Penner. Give Penner credit, also, but being in a scoring position and having the skill to score on a bang-bang play.

The Canucks had five power plays for a total of 8 minutes, 24 seconds. Even though the Kings had (a lot) more power-play time, giving the Canucks that much time with the man advantage is generally a recipe for failure, given that -- even without Daniel Sedin -- the Canucks have an ultra-dangerous power play. The Kings, though, did a relatively good job with discipline and were perfect on the penalty kill. The big one was in the third period, after Jordan Nolan took an offensive-zone slashing penalty. The Canucks recorded three shots on goal but Jonathan Quick came through, and less than one minute later, Dustin Penner scored.
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