LOS ANGELES—The Kings commanding strength on the offensive side of their game was too much for Vancouver to keep up with. Scoring three unanswered goals in the final period, Los Angeles handed the Canucks their second loss at the Staples Center with a 3-1 victory.
After suffering a 5-0 shutout by the St. Louis Blues to start 2014, the Kings were ready to get back home and start a five-game homestand on the right track. Vancouver evened the pace with LA until the middle part of the first period with Jeff Carter hooking Henrik Sedin to put their adversaries on the power play. Vancouver connected with Ryan Kesler scoring after the Sedin twins took the puck for a spin through traffic in front of the Kings’ crease, finding Kesler on the outside to give him his 16th.
Kesler, who was named on the United States hockey team roster was the lone player on the Vancouver squad to help their 1-0 lead stand. Carter took a second penalty, but the Kings PK unit re-grouped on the Canucks’ second man advantage and squashed it. LA outshot Vancouver 17-13, but the lead still belonged to their opponents north of the border.
Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown made an early mistake in the first minute of the second period by slashing Kevin Bieksa. The Kings forced the Canucks to go 1-3 on the power play and take charge of evening the score.Vancouver’s return of Roberto Luongo, from an earlier injury back in the net as the number one netminder for the team, stopped all 18 shots from the Kings.
The Kings also saw a return of Jonathan Quick back in the net, but as Luongo had an early lead on Quick with a goal against Los Angeles, it was time for the Kings’ offense to rack up the numbers. The Kings pulled out all the stops in the third and went right to work with Brown scoring his eighth to tie the game on a rebound from Justin Williams’ attempt. After Brown shot the puck into the net, a late collision between the captain and Luongo upset some of the goalie’s teammates, suggesting it was a late intentional hit.
Officials continued the game with Los Angeles in a commanding position to steal the lead. Carter scored after taking back-to-back penalties in the first with Dwight King outskating Vancouver’s Jason Garrison on the side where Kings found Carter ahead to record his 14th and take control of the score. Los Angeles did a fine job of switching to a defensive stance with just a goal separating the two teams. It led Vancouver to take nine shots the entire period, leaving no room for them to make a play against the Kings.
Time ran by too fast for coach John Torterella to pull Luongo for the sixth man as they found themselves with just 25 seconds left to tie the game. It never went their way as Carter scored his second of the night on the empty net with 10 seconds left. The Kings center recorded his fourth goal in five games. Quick gained his first win since November 9, holding an 11-5-0 record. After putting on a terrific performance in the net and also earning a spot for Team USA, the 2012 Conn Smythe trophy winner will keep his momentum facing Minnesota on Tuesday.