LAst Night's Action: Kings Break Through to Second Round
LA Kings defeat Vancouver Canucks 2-1 (OT). After losing the last two regular season games to the San Jose Sharks by choking two-goal leads in the third period, there didn't seem to be much hope for this team. It seemed as if the fire went out as soon as they clinched a playoff berth despite having the chance of being the 3-seed. And that's almost never a good omen for a playoff bound team. But after storming out of the gate winning the first two games in Vancouver, anything could happen.
For Kings fans, the fact the game went to overtime might have induced some more anxiety since the Kings have gone 1-4 in playoff overtime games in the last three seasons. But anything did happen in Game 5.
A guy who had career-low season in scoring took the puck over at the blue line thanks to a turnover coaxed by Trevor Lewis. Jarret Stoll streaking down the left wing had Dwight King on the right side to dish the puck to. Stoll opted to keep the puck, shot the puck high on the short-side and got it past Canucks' goaltender Cory Schneider 4:27 in the overtime period to silence the crowd in Vancouver for the 2-1 overtime win.
Things didn't start well for the Kings. After getting shutout despite a good start, the Kings started taking penalties. Worse, the penalty killers for the Kings in the second power-play had problems clearing the puck. The Sedins make teams pay for their sins, and they did so here. Henrik passed to Daniel. Daniel passed to Henrik, and Vancouver took the early 1-0 lead.
The lead would stand until Brad Richardson knotted the game thanks to Drew Doughty's hard work (and to the linesmen not calling an offsides on Colin Fraser) early in the third period. But between then and Stoll's series winner, there were a series of extraordinary saves by both Jonathan Quick and Schneider that had jaws on the floor and the hearts of fans into a meth-induced arrhythmia.
The arteries and veins must have been on overdrive when Quick had to do the splits to save Mason Raymond's shot in overtime just after Jeff Carter had the game on his stick with no one in blue anywhere remotely near him only to inexplicably shoot the puck wide left.
But the third time was the charm for this group of Kings' players. After bowing out in the first round the previous two seasons, the Kings armed with a new head coach finally broke through and win their first playoff series since 2001.
And onto the summer go the President's Trophy winners, the sixth time since the award was established in the 1985-86 season this has happened. This was also the 10th time a 1-seed was ousted by an 8-seed, although this was the fewest amount of games it has happened.
With Vancouver, what do they do with Roberto Luongo/Cory Schneider? What do they do with head coach Alain Vigneault?
But more importantly for the Kings, when do they start their second-round series against the St. Louis Blues? Although the Kings won the season series 3-1, they have met the Blues in the playoffs twice before in 1969 and 1998. The Kings were swept in both series.
LA Lakers defeat Oklahoma City Thunder 114-106 (2OT). Never mind Ron Artest's elbow to James Harden's skull that sent both out of the game. Trailing by 11 with 4:37 remaining in regulation, the game was all about Kobe Bryant's killer three-pointers in the final two minutes of regulation that not only beat the shot clock but beat defender Thaba Sefolosha to help send the game to OT.
Houston Astros defeat LA Dodgers 12-0. Things were bleak from the very beginnning. After an error by first baseman Juan Rivera came back to bite the Dodgers after Carlos Lee homered, at least Chad Billingsley was throwing strikes. Quickly that too faded as Billingsley couldn't find the strike zone in the second inning — he gave up a walk to opposing pitcher Wandy Rodriguez to load the bases. Jordan Schaefer hit the grand slam two pitches later, and the game was over right then. Billingsley was pulled with one out in the fourth inning.
LA Clippers defeat New Orleans Hornets 107-98.
Baltimore Orioles defeat LA Angels 3-2 (10). After a good pitching performance by Dan Haren, it was Nick Markakis who's RBI single in the 10th inning spoils the sweep for the Angels.
Atlanta Braves at LA Dodgers. 7:10 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 570 KLAC.