Kings, Brown Trick Canucks
Against a team they could possibly face in the playoffs, the Kings played a spectacular game drowning the Vancouver Canucks 8-3 led by captain Dustin Brown’s hat trick.
There was a sense that things would go the Kings way tonight when Alexander Frolov on the Kings first shot on goal ended up scoring 5:26 in the game on an assist by Dustin Brown and Jeff Halpern.
But the night belonged to a bruised, bloodied and toothless Brown who scored his second career hat trick. His first game with 1:58 left in the first period to put the Kings up 3-0. On a power play after Christian Erhoff was called for cross checking, Dustin Brown squibbled one through the wickets of Canuck’s goalie Roberto Luongo 9:20 in the second period for the 5-0 lead.
The hats came raining down when on a breakaway Brown faked out Luongo and hit a shot upstairs into the net 3:31 in the third period to put the Kings up 6-2. Brown’s four points in the game marks a career high, and his one assist ties a career high with 29.
“I haven’t been scoring as much as I would have liked this year,” Brown said, “but I think I have been playing pretty well especially as of late.”
A lot of the game was being at the right place at the right time for the Kings. Anze Kopitar was exactly that when off of a shot from Jack Johnson that was deflected off of Luongo he tapped it right on through 14:01 in the first for the second goal of the game.
Again in the second period on a power play, Jarret Stoll was in the right place getting the goal 3:37 on a Drew Doughty shot that ricocheted off Luongo to give the Kings the 4-0 advantage.
But after that goal the Kings seemed content in protecting the lead rather than playing the game at hand. They became very sloppy on their end as Vancouver became desperate and more aggressive.
“Sometimes when you get in a game that is 5-0, we started giving them chances as the game went on,” Brown said. “But we kept the game out of reach for them.”
Kyle Wellwood notched a power play goal to get the Canucks on the scoreboard 12:43 in the second period, and Ryan Kesler 39 seconds later scored on a wrister that Kings goalie Jonathan Brenier lost sight of to cut into their deficit 5-2.
“The second one, I didn’t think he was going to shoot it,” Brenier said of Kesler’s goal. “It was hard to see. Stoll was right in front. But I’ve got to make that save.”
Wellwood scored his second goal more than a minute after Brown’s hat trick goal to get the Canucks back 6-3.
But Justin Williams and Michal Handzus put the game on ice with goals 6:38 and 15:42 respectively.
Not only have the Kings won back-to-back games convincingly, but they have done so against opponents they have a hard time of beating. Prior to Tuesday’s game, the Kings hadn’t beaten the Nashville Predators in two years. And prior to this game the Kings had lost five consecutive games against the Canucks.
“Those are teams we’ve not beaten in two years,” head coach Terry Murray said. “We’ve been close a few times, but Vancouver is a tough team to play against.
“We talked about bringing home the attitude we showed in Nashville,” Murray continued. “We had the right kind of attitude in the first period, got some good play and to be able to look up and see the 3-0 score felt good.”
That attitude Murray talked about led to the team winning the battles for the loose pucks and being more diligent and aggressive in the neutral zone.
And it was allowed the Kings to score as many as eight goals in a game for the first time since January 1, 2008 when they beat the Chicago Blackhawks 9-2.
Kopitar with two points tonight (1-1) now has a career high of 78 points besting his previous high of 77 points (32-45) in the 2007-08 season. Bernier is now 3-0-0 with the Kings this season and held a shutout streak of 111:14 before Wellwood scored 12:43 into the second period. The Kings magic number to clinch a playoff spot is four.