LOS ANGELES (AP) -Unless the Los Angeles Kings get a Quick reversal of their recent fortunes on defense, the Vancouver Canucks are headed onward in the playoffs.
Embattled goalie Jonathan Quick and his Kings will attempt to stave off elimination Sunday night when they host the Canucks in Game 6 of their first-round series.
Vancouver has moved to the brink of its second straight trip to the second round of the postseason with four dominant periods in a row, yet the Canucks have faced enough trouble from the Kings during the series to realize the importance of their opportunity at Staples Center.
"You don't want to give teams a second chance," Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa said Saturday. "Sure, we have two chances to take them out of the series. We've learned that with bad bounces and officiating, anything can happen on any given day. You don't want to let it go to a Game 7 if you can help it."
The Kings had a 2-1 series advantage and a third-period lead in Game 4 before their defense disintegrated. Los Angeles has been outscored 11-3 in the last four periods, including an embarrassing 7-2 loss in Vancouver on Friday night, ending with a series of brawls and scrums.
What's more, the inconsistent Quick looks shaky again in the final games of the winningest season for a goalie in franchise history. Although Quick was pulled from Game 5, coach Terry Murray is sticking with him Sunday - and his teammates agree they've got to do more to keep their entire season from slipping away.
Quick went nine appearances without a victory after winning his 39th game during the regular season, only getting back in the win column in Game 2. His struggles have worried the Kings, but as backup Erik Ersberg proved in allowing two goals during his brief stint in Game 5, Quick is the best option available at the moment - at least since Los Angeles refuses to push the panic button to call up star prospect Jonathan Bernier from the minors.
"Start with one game back home in L.A., and win that game," Quick said. "And we've just got to beat them two in a row, like we did once already. There's no doubt in our locker room we could do it."
Even if Quick reverts to form, the Kings might need even more help from their power play, which has been their greatest strength in the series. Los Angeles is 10 for 21 with a man-advantage, including a stunning 5 for 7 in its two home games.
The Canucks' penalty kill had perhaps its best game Friday, holding the Kings to one goal on five power plays, including a fruitless two-man advantage.
Although Game 5 got away from the Kings, many echoed defenseman Sean O'Donnell's belief that the size of the loss doesn't matter.
"We expected this thing to go 7," O'Donnell said. "I said early on, this was going to be a seven-game series, and it still feels that way. We're playing in front of our fans, and we get maybe the matchups that we're looking for. But this is going to be a test of the character in this room. I fully believe we can wipe the slate and start over going home. We know we can play with these guys, and we're going to give everything we have."
The Kings again will get favorable defensive matchups in Game 6, which will allow them to put their best defenders against the Sedin twins' new line with Mikael Samuelsson, who was teamed up with his Swedish teammates midway through Game 4. Samuelsson has been spectacular throughout the series, with his seven goals leading the NHL entering Saturday's games.
The 33-year-old Swedish veteran had never scored more than five goals in an entire postseason, even while twice reaching the Stanley Cup finals and playing 45 total playoff games during the past two years.
"I'm on a roll," said Samuelsson, who scored a career-best 30 goals during the regular season. "I feel good about myself, I feel good about the team and the way the team is playing. It's not only me. It feels like we started to get confidence. We have done more and more things to be better. ... When you feel good about yourself, you think you can do things with the puck. You're not so tight. You're loose and play the game you really want to play."
Daniel Sedin didn't skate at Saturday's practice after taking a slash in Game 5, but said he'll play Sunday. Vancouver also called up defenseman Lawrence Nycholat from the minors, but coach Alain Vigneault wouldn't say whether he'll play in Game 6.