Kings Shutout Vancouver to take 3-0 Series Lead
History abounded in Los Angeles on Sunday. After the Dodgers got their first triple play in 14 years, the Kings took a commanding 3-0 playoff series lead for the first time in franchise history with their 1-0 shutout over the Vancouver Canucks.
Just don't expect to see head coach Darryl Sutter to be clicking his heels in celebration.
"We still have to learn how to win," Sutter said. "You don't get anything for three."
For 40 minutes, it didn't look like the Kings were going to get to three. They were outshot 25-11 and didn't look to be generating any scoring chances.
"We wanted to come out and be a team that we were in Vancouver," Anze Kopitar said. "Maybe tonight wasn't the game that you wanted to play. They came in strong, and it just shows the character that we can win a tight game."
Character or no, they really had a hard time holding on to the puck turning it over nine times. As with the regular season the Kings thankfully had Jonathan Quick in between the pipes.
"I believe their game plan was to get a lot of bodies to the net, try to take away my eyes," Quick said. "They did a pretty good job of that. I was fortunate a lot of times that the puck didn’t get through."
As great as Quick played Sunday night, the play that will have everyone talking is Dustin Brown's hit on Henrik Sedin early in the second period. As Sedin was reaching for the puck in front of the Vancouver bench, Brown gave a forearm that dropped Sedin. Unfortunately for Sedin, his head appeared to whiplash immediately sparking concerns of a concussion.
"He's a hard player, an elusive player to hit, and one of their top players so I just got my chance to finish my check and I did," Brown said.
"Clean hit," Sedin said. Sedin did go back to the dressing room but came back to the bench later in the period. When ask if he was merely winded from the hit, Sedin replied, "Yep."
"I don't like the position Hank was in, but other than that it was a good hit," Canucks' head coach Alain Vigneault said.
The ensuing melee even had Kopitar getting in his first NHL fight with Alexandre Burrows.
"There were two guys on Brown," Kopitar explained. "I wanted to make sure he didn't get outnumbered. We both dropped them, and that's pretty much it."
While that livened up the crowd for a little while, it wasn't until the third period when things came alive.
You could see it coming a mile away. The Kings started to look energized in the third period. It started with Willie Mitchell shooting the puck from the left point just wide right of the net. The puck made its way to the right boards where Kopitar passed the puck to Justin Williams who shot from the top of the right circle.
Dustin Brown standing alone on the backside of the play developing to the left of Vancouver Canucks' goalie Cory Schneider. After Schneider saved Williams' shot, the rebound came straight to Brown. The captain took things into his own hands despite Alexander Edler flailing himself towards Brown unsuccessfully. Brown shot the puck into the net, and the STAPLES Center went crazy.
"He was huge again tonight," Sutter commented. "That's why he's our captain."
The fact that Brown was open was perplexing.
"They were able to make us pay for one of our mistakes," Vigneault conceded.
In the end Quick made 41 saves en route to his second career playoff shutout, tying Felix Potvin for the most in Kings' playoff history. While the Kings only mustered 20 shots against Schneider, it took only one. And so broke the five-game home playoff losing streak.
"We haven't fared as well at home so it was great to get everything moving in the right direction on home ice tonight," Quick said.
The Canucks become the first President's Trophy winners to be down 0-3 in their first playoff series, and the Kings will look to sweep them at home Wednesday night.