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The Key Three: April 18

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Three key aspects of the Kings’ 3-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks...

The Canucks were 0-for-14 on the power play in the first three games of the series. That simply wasn’t going to continue, particularly with Daniel Sedin returning to the lineup for Game 4. The Canucks looked refreshed and confident on the power play, as the Sedins worked their short passes and weaves to create opportunities. Vancouver scored two power-play goals, and the game swung during a Vancouver power play in the third period. With the Kings down 2-1, Dustin Brown drew a penalty shot while shorthanded, but Cory Schneider made a patient save. Less than 30 seconds later, Henrik Sedin watched a rebound fall at his feet, then scored for a 3-1 lead. Game over.


One can only imagine the words exchanged in the Canucks’ locker room during the first intermission, but they probably fell something along the lines of, ``If we play two more periods like that, our season is over.’’ The Kings dominated the first period. They had their script. If they could follow it for the ensuing 40 minutes, they would be off to the second round. That’s easier said than done, though, particularly against a veteran Canucks team facing a do-or-die game. The first two minutes of the second period made it clear that the Canucks weren’t going to roll over. After a bad early penalty by Colin Fraser, the Canucks tied the game and they got rolling.


How would a relatively inexperienced goalie, making his third NHL playoff start, respond in a game that had the potential to end his team’s season. Quite well, actually. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault decided to stay with Schneider, instead of Roberto Luongo, after the Canucks’ Game 3 loss, and Schneider made Vigneault look wise. One doesn’t know how Luongo would have fared, but he couldn’t have fared much better than Schneider. In the first period, the Kings were all over Schneider and the Canucks. The Kings held a 13-7 edge in shots on goal and, if not for Schneider, easily could have had three goals in stead of one. Schneider set the table for Vancouver’s comeback.
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