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The Key Three: April 22

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Three key aspects of the Kings’ 2-1 overtime victory over the Vancouver Canucks...

How many times this season, at even strength or on the power play, did Jarret Stoll have the puck on his stick and shoot just high, or just wide, from the point or from one of the circles? Stoll will gladly trade all of those missed shots for the picture-perfect goal he scored in Game 5. With the puck sitting near the blue line, like a gift, Stoll picked it up and started a 2-on-1 with Dwight King. With all respect to King, there was no way Stoll was giving up the puck to the rookie, and rightfully so. The veteran center, after a regular season of offensive frustration, kept the puck, measured his shot and whistled a wrister past Cory Schneider to spark a celebration.

No longer does Jonathan Quick have to hear about Vancouver in 2010 and San Jose in 2011. Quick helped the Kings reach the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons, but those experiences were not the stuff of dreams, as Quick and the Kings were eliminated in six games each time. In this series, against a group of enormously talented Vancouver forwards, Quick was fantastic. Quick allowed a total of only eight goals in the five-game series. Late in the second period of Game 5, he made what was quite possibly the most-important save of his career, when he stopped Daniel Sedin on a breakaway to keep the score at 1-0.

The game got progressively better for the Kings. They looked completely out of sync in the first period, although, to be fair, neither team was able to establish much of a rhythm because of all the power-play time in the first 20 minutes. The Kings, in general, looked stronger in the second period, particularly in the final 10 minutes when they were able to stay out of the penalty box. Things finally came together in the third period, when the Kings outshot the Canucks 13-9 and got Brad Richardson’s game-tying goal at the 3:21 mark. The Kings started the third desperately needing a goal. By the buzzer, it was the Canucks who were fortunate to still be in the game.
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