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Canucks host Kings in potentially pivotal Game 5

by Dave Lozo

(Best-of-seven series tied 2-2)

Big story --
It looks like the Canucks might've figured things out over the final two periods of their comeback win in Game 4 on Wednesday. They actually prevented the red-hot Kings' power play from scoring on its final two chances and continued to have the better of the play at 5-on-5. It's now a best-of-three series with two games scheduled for GM Place in Vancouver.

Team scope:

Kings -- They were 20 minutes away from what could've been an insurmountable 3-1 lead in the series. They entered the third period of Game 4 with a 3-2 lead, but left with a 6-4 loss and a feeling that they let one slip away.

"Great effort. I loved our start," coach Terry Murray said. "The first period was exactly what we needed, go after it. This is part of the process you know you got to go through as a young group of guys and face adversity and again, I feel we have handled those situations pretty well over the course of the year, we've shown to be resilient and ready and bounce back. It's going to be a big test back in Vancouver."
"We have geared ourselves up for a long series," Ryan Smyth said. "We know it was not going to be easy, they are a fighting team, and so are we. We are geared up, we are ready for it."

Canucks -- It hasn't been pretty or easy, but the Canucks are on even ground after four games in which they've allowed nine power-play goals. But they killed the last two chances the Kings had Wednesday, and they hope the momentum carries into Game 5.

"A win is always big in the playoffs," Henrik Sedin said. "It doesn't matter when it happens. If you look at all the series, all the games, a goal here and there is going to change the momentum in every series. Now we have it, and we have to keep holding onto it."

Who's hot --
Canucks forward Mikael Samuelsson is tied for a share of the playoff lead with five goals. … Kings winger Wayne Simmonds has 2 goals and an assist in the three games since he was moved to the top line.

Injury report --
Canucks defensemen Nolan Baumgartner and Aaron Rome are day-to-day but won't play in Game 5. … The status of Kings defenseman Peter Harrold remains up in the air.

Stat pack -- The Kings had two power-play goals in their loss to the Canucks on Wednesday. Vancouver has allowed at least two power-play goals in each of its last six playoff games (the last two games against Chicago in 2009 and the first four games of its series against Los Angeles), tying an NHL record. The Islanders had a six-game streak from 1990 to 1993.

Puck drop -- "There are going to be these difficult times, adversities," Murray said. "You've got to know how to manage your emotions in these situations.  Emotionally, you've got to deal with it."

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