Previewing the Los Angeles Kings’ 2012-13 season:
Game 5 vs. Vancouver, January 28, 2013, 7:30pm PST (10:30pm EST)
They spilt their regular-season series with two wins apiece last season but the regular season is not what fans remember about the Los Angeles Kings and the Vancouver Canucks. Heading into the playoffs with the league’s best record and predicted to make short work of the underdog, the easily-dismissed Kings, the Canucks were in for a shocker as the Kings eliminated Vancouver in five games en route to their phenomenal run to the Stanley Cup.
But that was then and this is now. Neither team has forgotten about last spring and fans from both sides expect this now-heated rivalry to be renewed to its full potential tonight. For the Canucks, it’s about avenging last spring’s premature exit from the playoffs. For the Kings, it’s about proving that last spring wasn’t a fluke – they’re out to remind everyone that, despite their shaky start, they are the real deal.
Fans attending tonight’s game at Staples Center will receive replica Stanley Cup rings but there really is no extra incentive needed for a matchup between these two clubs. Since their last meeting in April, Kings fans still have not gotten tired of watching Dustin Brown’s devastating hit on Henrik Sedin during Game 1 of the series. In addition, they continue to tireless watch other highlights from the series including Los Angeles’ plethora of shorthanded goals and Jarret Stoll’s series-winner in overtime. Even the once-dominant Roberto Luongo since became expendable after the series despite guiding his team to within one win of the Stanley Cup one year earlier. But since Cory Schneider played last night in Vancouver’s 4-1 loss in San Jose, it’s reasonable to believe that Luongo will get the call in goal tonight.
So far, the Canucks are 2-2-1 but the Kings are hoping to match that mark. In just their second home game of the season, the silver-and-black are hoping for a better performance than their dud of a home-opener, losing 5-2 to Chicago back on January 19.
With his two-goal output in Phoenix on Thursday night, Anze Kopitar has looked to have found his groove and hopes to continue his production tonight along with Jeff Carter, who scored in each of his last two games and Kyle Clifford, who is currently riding a four-game point streak. Of course, the Kings are hoping to get production from players who have yet to find their names on the scoresheet thus far, including the aforementioned Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty.
For the Canucks, the Sedin twins are leading the way with six and four respectively while Alexander Edler leads Canuck defensemen with four points.
Whichever angle you look at it from, tonight’s battle (the first of three between the Kings and Canucks) has all the makings of turning into one intense battle.
Enjoy the game!